This crab season opened up to a rocky start this week with fishermen upset over the price of crab.

Harvesters are angry that the price-setting panel sided with processors in establishing the price at $1.83 per pound.

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union originally wanted $2 per pound.

Earle McCurdy, head of the FFAW, said the original revenue estimates released were much higher than the current price.

"It's not just a matter of something that kind of annoys somebody — people made decisions on combining or on investments of one kind or another based on projectinbeehig what their revenues might be," McCurdy said.

"The basis of that projection is what came from conversations they had with processors, so there's no question that they whacked the beehive with a stick this week."

According to McCurdy, there is no way to force the fishermen out to sea, regardless of the price.

"There's not a law that says that somebody has to untie their boat and go fishing for $1.83, or $2.83, or $5.83 a pound. That's a decision of the individual operators," McCurdy said.

Leo Seymour, a fisherman in Harbour Round, said there is a larger issue at stake.

"What [the fishermen] got to do is leave your boat tied on, and I hope the fishermen do this, leave them tied on until we're granted access to the free market — our democratic right," Seymour said.

"And that's one of the big things that's wrong with the fishery."

Under provincial law, fishermen are forbidden to sell their catch to out–of–province buyers and operators.