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Weak demand and low prices have some lobster fishermen wondering 'why bother?'
GLACE BAY, N.S. -- Lobster season is underway in an area ranging from northern New Brunswick to the north shore of Prince Edward Island and parts of the Northumberland Strait to western Cape Breton.
On Tuesday, fishing boats in North Sydney, N.S., were tied up because of the weather, but the rain and wind are not the only problems lobster fishermen are dealing with this season.
"The price is terrible," said lobster fisherman Herb Nash. "We were right down to $4 dollars at one time and we're at $4.25 right now. We started at $5.50 which wasn't bad, but we're down a lot."
Besides the price, Nash says COVID-19 has reduced the market to sell their catch.
With restaurants closed, cruise ships cancelled, and airlines limiting travel, he says there are fewer people eating lobster.
Marlene Brogan is the co-owner of Ballast Ground Fisheries in North Sydney. She says the government should have cancelled the season altogether.
"They provided funding for processors, so they can freeze more product, so that means the price going into next year is probably not going to be good," Brogan said. "There's going to be product already in storage."
Brogan says she's already had to throw out thousands of pounds of lobster because they couldn't be moved quickly enough -- a loss in the tens of thousands of dollars.
"It's been very difficult," Brogan said. "6 a.m. until midnight everyday on the phone. I've been in the industry 21 years, and I've been calling everybody I know, or met, or might be able to do something for me."
Nash says lobster season will wrap up in Glace Bay on July 15, but he says he's concerned the season might not get that far.
"If stuff don't pick up and they don't start shipping more, it's going to back up that they're not going to be able to sell them," Nash said.