By Amy Woolvett
THE COAST GUARD
© Amy Woolvett photo
James Mood urged lobster fishers to tie up their boats until a price of $5.50 is reached
Local lobster fishers in the LFA 33 and 34 district decided at a meeting held Tuesday afternoon, April 24, that they would hold their catch until the price increased to $5.50 per pound.
Hundreds of captains and crew showed up to the 1688 Professional Lobster Fishermen Association to make a hard decision about their future.
“We have to do this today,” said James Mood, president of the association to the crowd. “Not this fall but now.”
They have given lobster buyers 48 hours to set a higher price.
It was determined that the fishermen spend Wednesday and Thursday hauling in their gear and that if they did not get $5.50 per pound from their buyers for the rest of the season they were to hold their lobsters.
“Shut it down Thursday night,” informed Mood. “This is our last chance…it is now or never.”
“Do you want to go bankrupt,” he asked. “We have to stay united and stick together…this is not about you and I but about we and us.”
The price of lobster is currently at $5.00 per pound.
“Are you going to fish for a price where you can’t even afford to go out or are you going to wait and see what can happen,” said Mood.
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While many of the fishermen at the meeting were in agreement that they could not afford to stay home, they were also resolute that they would.
The vote was unanimous.
Still, many were worried that half the fishermen would stay in while the others went out.
“I can’t say what’s going to happen,” said Mood. “All I can say is that this will be a test of will.”
The association has grown strong in numbers since it first began and is now close to 900 members.
One fisherman in attendance urged the fishermen to encourage other licensed holder fishermen to join the group. Currently there are 450 licensed members joined and 900 are needed for a majority.
“Then we don’t have to ask,” he said. “We tell them what we want.”
Russel Acker was another of the lobster fishermen to speak at the meeting.
“This has got to stop,” he said. “We need to do something to bring the price up…we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
The lobster fishing seasons in LFAs 34 and 33 ends on May 31.