New Brunswick

Higher lobster prices sought by new group

Some New Brunswick lobster fishermen are considering a plan that could see the industry hold out for higher prices.

Organizer says lobster fishermen struggle to get a fair price for their catch

Some New Brunswick lobster fishermen are considering a plan that could see the industry hold out for higher prices.

A Nova Scotia association made news in January when its members held out for higher lobster prices and eventually got them.

Allisan Spear, the New Brunswick liaison for the 1688 Professional Lobster Fishermen Association, said she would like to see lobster fishermen in New Brunswick follow their lead.

"In three months, they've got 800 members, they've almost got 51 per cent of their licences and that's what we kind of need in every area," she said.

She said the biggest struggle that lobster fishermen face is getting a fair price for their catch.

"There's really no industry out there where you actually get less for your product and pay more for your expenses and still operate. If that's the way it keeps going fishermen will eventually lose their traditional fisheries," she said.

Nova Scotia support

James Mood, the president of the Nova Scotia association, said New Brunswick lobster fishermen need just as much help as their counterparts in Nova Scotia.

"They are faced with the same issues that we all are. If this industry is turned over to the corporate world, our way of life, our communities, our families, we're done."

The Nova Scotia group is credited with lobster prices in Nova Scotia almost doubling to $6 a pound this year.

With a new lobster season kicking off in New Brunswick at the end of the month, Spear said she fears prices will once again drop.

She said she hopes getting others to join the association will help her family’s fifth generation fishing business and other New Brunswick lobster fishermen stay afloat.

It isn't just about higher prices, according to the group's organizer.

Spear said a fair price would also help bring people in the industry together.

"If we get a fair price then the fishermen aren't going to be over fishing their stock, they won't be so competitive against each other," she said.

"That’s why I really like 1688's goal, it is first and foremost to get a fair price and to bring all fishermen together."