Crucial talks are underway to settle a dispute that is keeping 4,500 Maritime lobster boats and 12,000 crew members ashore.

The majority of fishermen in Glace Bay, N.S. are determined not to start the season for less than $5 a pound - about a third more than processors are currently paying.

“If you can’t make money, then you’re really should not be at it, and that’s the point we are at now,” says fisherman Herb Nash. “With what they are offering us, we can’t make money at it.”

Geoff MacLellan, the MLA for the area, says the local economy depends heavily on the fishery and that buyers should consider paying a higher price for lobster.

“I think that buyers understand the reality that they have to be in the vicinity of $5 per pound, or the economics simply don’t work to hit the water,” says MacLellan.

Adding to the fishermen’s frustration, they learned today that one major processor is advertising lobster for more than $16 a pound - nearly five times what the fishermen are being paid.

Fishermen from several Cape Breton ports gathered on Monday prior to the talks involving Nova Scotia’s fisheries minister, fishermen and processors.

“It seems to be the processing sector are the ones controlling the price,” says fishermen’s representative Colin Dandy. “If they can pay a little more to our local buyers, in turn, it will be a trickledown effect.”

The show of continued solidarity among fishermen has effectively shut down the Maritime lobster industry.

A pressing issue that may lead to a settlement is that thousands of traps have been in the water untended for more than three days, which is the maximum allowed under federal fisheries regulations.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Randy MacDonald