Lobster price feud causing rift between fishermen
Published Thursday, May 3, 2012 5:59PM ADT
A feud over lobster prices is causing a rift between fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia, where some have tied up their boats and are protesting the market price by refusing to fish.
Some fishermen want to take their boats out, but they are fearful ongoing clashes between the groups will escalate if they do.
The protesters are asking for a market value set at a minimum of $5 per pound.
"What these dealers want to do is buy our lobsters for a low price, put them away for big bucks," says fisherman Cecil Newell.
While the other group supports the cause, they want to fish now and fight for fairness later.
"We need one united body to fight for each other, not against each other," says fisherman Maurice Shand.
There have been reports of clashes between the two groups breaking out on the wharfs. Some fishermen tell CTV News they are afraid to take their boats out because of possible threats and retaliation.
"People in the community, boys, women, mothers, children…been threatened. ‘Go, and we'll burn you," says fisherman Kevin Swaine.
RCMP officers have been posted at some wharfs to keep the peace and secure public safety.
Meanwhile, the protest is hurting those who rely on the spring season to fuel the local economy.
"I haven't sold any fuel this week," says fuel delivery driver Curly Kristensen. "Usually I'd sell four loads a week, and that's 80,000 litres."
While their actions may be new, the protesting fishermen say they have been fighting the issue for years.
"We've been hurting for a long while," says Newell. "Lobstering keeps everything going here, so we need to stick up for our own community."
Some of the fishermen who disagree with the protest are keeping their boats tied up to simply keep the peace, but they say they won't be able to sustain their position much longer.
"We're not staying in because they bullied us, for all they're trying," says Swaine. "We're staying in because if there is any peace to keep, we want to keep it for as long as we can."
Some say they will be heading out to sea in a few days.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl