August 11, 2012

Canadian lobstermen strike deal with processors

By Eric Russell
Staff Writer

Lobstermen and processors in New Brunswick struck a deal late Friday that both sides hope averts a crisis that resulted in heated protests a week ago.

Those protests temporarily halted Maine lobster from reaching the Canadian processing facilities that take more than half of all soft-shell lobsters caught by Mainers.

The deal comes on the heels of a court injuction issued Thursday that restricted protesters from stopping trucks.

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., lobstermen have accepted a price from processors of $3.50 per pound for market lobster. That’s less than the $4 that lobstermen were asking for when they first protested but more than the $3 processors first offered.

The extra 50 cents will be covered in a even split between the processing facilities and the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, the CBC reported. The union, which represents New Brunswick lobstermen, will pay its share by refinancing and extending an existing loan.

The negotiated prices are capped at 15,000 pounds per fishermen, according to the CBC. After that, the price returns to the $3 rate.

The deal between processors and lobstermen in New Brunswick is not expected to affect the price Maine lobstermen were getting from Canadian processors.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage on Friday met with in-state processors to discuss expanding Maine’s capacity to process its own lobster instead of relying so heavily on Canada.

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