Lobster glut hurting communities, says dealer

Greg Bennett
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1688 Association wants industry to halt for better prices

James Mood, of the 1688 Professional Lobster Fishermen's Association spoke to a crowd in Barrington on Wednesday afternoon.

The frustration was evident on Wednesday afternoon in Barrington as a group of area fishermen listened to James Mood’s solution for low lobster prices, which have sunk to $3 a pound this fall because record catches have led to a glut.

The 1688 Fishermen’s Association president repeated his simple solution, one that he’s also offered at wharves in Yarmouth, several times,

“Stop fishing,” he said. “If you fellas continue to go …you’ll catch 80 per cent of your lobsters by January 1. And if you don’t do anything about it you’ve lost this year …you’ve lost it.”

Mood offered a bleak scenario for the industry if fishermen do not stop fishing until prices rise.

“20 percent of license holders will have to get out of this,” he offered. “Where are those licenses going to go …you know exactly where they’re going to go …the corporate world.”

  Although some in the crowd complained about the profits being made by lobster buyers while fishermen were fighting with higher prices for fuel and bait, Mood blamed, in part, the competitive nature of fishermen for the situation.

“You fellows have done this to yourself ...there’s only one way to stop it ...shut the fishery down. Shut it down,” he emphasized.

During Mood’s presentation local lobster buyer Chris Malone told the group of about 50 fishermen and community members that there were too many lobsters being landed and that fishermen needed to find a way to slow catches down until demand could take up some of the current glut.

He said lobster dealers were also having a difficult time because of the market glut.

“ Their (the buyers’) job is to buy lobsters as cheap as they can,” said Malone. “I’m buying lobsters from dealers …I was up all last night buying two loads out of Lockeport for $2.75 that I’m sure that they paid more than $2.75 for…they’re not taking these lobster and making a whole bunch of money …they’re in a mess too.”

Malone said he didn’t know if a shutdown of the industry was the right solution, but he offered that something needed to be done.

“If you don’t have some way to control the amount of lobsters that come in in this glut ..and that is the key thing that’s caused this problem  I don’t know,” he said. “As far as the dealers go …they’re not going to save you. And, I can’t believe there’s so few people taking an interest in it …it’s the lifeblood of the whole community.”

Mood agreed.

You fellas are destroying this industry and your communities with it,” he said.



Geographic location: Barrington, Fishermen, Yarmouth Lockeport

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Recent comments

  • gary nickerson
    December 08, 2012 - 21:39

    too many hands in the pocket , your small tank houses make 50 cents a pound regardless of price , they sell to the big guys , too them the more caught the better. 50 dollars every hundred pound , so your really getting 3.50 a pound . their happy . but this is just one problem of many .you have air freight . you have labour at the pound, the fish monger takes his % they gotta be moved from airport at both ends gotta be delivered to restaurant ,cooked served , dished washed ,power bill and so many more everyone gotta make a living . this is a live product . buy a lobster dinner in sou west nova , is it 3 $ or 20$ lol , Japan , USA , it don't matter you cant freeze it like beef so the cost is gonna be higher

    • Larry Boudreau
      December 09, 2012 - 18:28

      Lobster fisherman have been talking about the same issues for generations and yet have been unable to make any difference in the situation for one very simple reason, fear! Fear of the unknown! Fear to accept change! Fear to accept responsibility for those things they can change and to recognize that there are things that will make things right for them and their families. Time and again a person rises up from within their ranks to speak out, to organize, to generate dialogue, and time and again it is their own compatriots, with their petty self-interests, greed and complacency, who shut them up or laugh them off! Why should any sane person care what happens to these lobster fisherman when it is obvious they don't care about themselves, their families or their communities? Until they can all sit in a room, listen to what is being proposed, think on it, debate it (rationally and thoughfully), listen to dissenting opinions, accept alternative arguments, remain open-minded and accept the majority position as the course of action for "all", nothing is likely to change anytime soon, at least for the better! There have been many attempts over the past couple of years to make things right and they are no further ahead than when they started.

  • Jamie
    December 06, 2012 - 21:21

    maybe if they lowered the prices on our end there would be more demand we pay $14.00 plus a pound on the west coast I would buy alot more if the price was lower but not less too the fisherman...... Victoria BC