Canadian lobstermen reach deal in pricing dispute

Canadian lobstermen announced Saturday that they've reached a deal with processors.

Story highlights

  • Processors agreed to pay $3.03 per pound of processed lobster and $3.53 per pound of live market
  • The unseasonably warm winter has resulted in much more lobster this year
  • A temporary injunction last week forced open the plants

A union for Canadian lobstermen announced Saturday that they've reached a deal with processors and the New Brunswick provincial government that will keep processing plants open after a pricing dispute prompted blockades of the plants and a temporary injunction.

The protesters -- mostly comprised of fishermen -- had been seeking to prevent trucks from hauling Maine lobster into Canadian plants because of an excess of the crustacean, which has contributed to a recent crash in wholesale prices.

But in the light of a deal made late Friday evening, processors agreed to pay $3.03 per pound of processed lobster and $3.53 per pound of live market lobster, a 50-cent increase on both prices from a week ago, according to Christian Brun of the Maritime Fishermen's Union.

Half of the 50-cent increase is being paid for by the processors, the other half by the union. Brun said the union plans to take out a loan to cover the added cost.

New Brunswick provincial spokeswoman Lisa Harrity confirmed the agreement.

"We're glad that this issue is resolved," said Brun. "We'll also be immediately figuring out how this can be prevented in the future."

A temporary injunction last week forced open the plants, requiring protesters to stay at least 200 feet away from plant entrances, according to Anne McInerney, a New Brunswick provincial spokesman.

The unseasonably warm winter has resulted in a glut of lobster this year, bringing prices to a 40-year-low, according to Maine Marine Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

Some lobsters are selling for as low as $1.75 per pound off the dock, with lobstermen demanding closer to $4.

Maine sends much of its lobster to Canada for processing each year, mainly due to its small number of plants.

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