Nova Scotia

Lobster fishermen angry over prices turn directly to shoppers

The low price for lobster is prompting some Nova Scotia fishermen to advertise online, truck their product to the city and sell directly to consumers.

Low prices for lobster are prompting a number of fishermen to advertise online, truck their product to the city and sell directly to consumers.

Kijiji is just one of the websites Nova Scotia fishermen have turned to in an attempt to get a better return for their efforts.

An online shopper can order live lobster from fishermen in Digby and Wedgeport for $5 a pound, which is nearly $2 more than what they're getting from buyers at the wharf.

"Cut out the middleman, I guess," said Matthew Theriault, 26, one of the lobster fishermen willing to deliver to customers a three-hour drive away in Halifax.

"We have big payments. In previous years we've let the buyers make their 50 to 75 cents off them. But this year we're going to try and make our own 50 to 75 cents."

Theriault is planning to sell lobsters from the back of his truck at a to-be-announced location on Dec. 19. Other fishermen plan to be at the Costco parking lot on Sunday.

It's how John Risley started Clearwater, the country's biggest lobster business, 30 years ago.

But it's not how Theriault expected to operate.

"We're doing this trying to survive," said Theriault. "We'd rather give them to the buyers and let them give them to the markets to keep the market strong. But I guess when it comes down to it, you've got to do what you've got to do."

Theriault said he and his two brothers need a minimum of $5 a pound — last year's price — in order to repay the loans on their fishing boats.

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