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Lobster fishermen wary prices will sink industry

Lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia say if they don't find a way to get more cash for their catch when the season opens in November, the entire industry will be in serious trouble.

Interprovincial report could change business

Lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia say if they don't find a way to get more cash for their catch when the season opens in November, the entire industry will flounder.

They are waiting for a report from an expert panel put together by the three Maritime premiers last spring after a series of protests by fishermen around the region.

The three-member, independent panel is largely looking at lobster prices.

The fishermen said their hope is the report will contain some ideas to help fishermen stay in business.

Twenty per cent of nothing is nothing.- Ashton Spinney

“Just think of it this way, the cost for us to land a lobster is relatively $4 and we were receiving $3.50,” said Ashton Spinney.

The long-time fisherman said catching more to offset losses doesn’t benefit the crew, who get paid a share when the catch is sold.

“Twenty per cent of nothing is nothing,” he said

Spinney said either fishermen pay their workers using their savings or risk losing them.

“They are packing their bags and going west,” he said.

Spinney said he worries the industry is also losing experienced sorting and handling crews.

Hope is pinned to the long-awaited lobster report. It could mean fishing fewer days, with fewer traps. Sorting lobster before it’s landed is an idea that’s also been floated.

“All of those things are in the bag of tricks we could pull out,” said Spinney.

The panel’s report is expected later this month.

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