Local fishermen vote not to fish tomorrow

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Fishermen leave their meeting in Antigonish on Sunday afternoon.

ANTIGONISH - Fishermen in Gulf Nova Scotia have voted to stay tied to the wharf Monday in hopes that that results from come from a meeting from the provincial government, buyers and union reps. 

More than 400 fishermen and women attended a meeting Sunday to determine if they would continue their protest over low lobster prices or start fishing again. 

After heated discussions in the basement of the St. FX chapel, members voted to continue their protest and meet Monday in the chapel at 7 p.m. to determine if they are fishing Tuesday.  

"All fishermen in the Gulf Nova Scotia are asked to please stay ashore tomorrow," said Dan MacDougall, president of Gulf Nova Scotia Bonafide Fishermen's Association.

Fishermen were told that some parts in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island were going fishing Monday, but Gulf members voted to wait until talks could take place between Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau, processors and Gulf Nova Scotia representatives. 

Pressure was put on local MLAs in attendance, Jim Boudreau from Guysborough, Maurice Smith of Antigonish and Alan MacMaster from Inverness to contact Belliveau for a meeting with processors. 

The MLAs called the minister and he agreed to cancel appointments Monday for such a meeting,  but there was no guarantee it would happen in such a short period of time. Processors were meeting with government and union reps in Prince Edward Island Sunday. 

"He wants a list of buyers of who you want to meet with him, who will be at the table and the names of who he is meeting with," said Smith. "He is going to start getting organized today." 

MacDougall and many other speakers emphasized that solidarity is the key to keeping their protest strong and winning their fight for better lobster prices from the buyers. The protest started with Prince Edward Island fishermen Tuesday and fishermen in the other Maritime provinces quickly followed suit.

"The fish are still in the water," said Bart Brown of Little Harbour. "They aren't going anywhere and my sons will catch them after we go away. We need to know whether we are going fishing and whether the price is viable. We need to stand up. If not for this year, it's for another year so there is a future in this thing. We need to hand up and this has never happened before so stick to it guys." 

A motion was made for the members to stay at the wharfs Monday with hopes that a meeting would take place and provide them they answers they needed, but things became heated when Evan Elliott of Pugwash stood up and told the crowd he would be fishing Monday.  

"I am going to leave and I am going fishing tomorrow," he said. "Everyone else can do what they like. I will be on the water tomorrow."

The crowd responded by calling him a "scab" and shouting, "shame on you". 

"We were told to stay ashore," he said. "I got a purple truck, the rusty Dodge if you want to slash the tires or burn it. I will be on the water. The guys may lynch when I get to the wharf, but I am going fishing." 

MacDougall managed to bring some composure back to the meeting, but asked everyone to stay out of the water and invited Elliott to attend the meeting Monday between the processors and the government.  

"(Evan's remarks) are front row seating of what I have been afraid of," he said. "Evan represents the pressure of what everyone else is feeling."

In the end, the members agreed that standing together was their best option for the short term and the future of the fishery. 

"I am 33-years-old and I have been fishing for 16 years," said Brad Curley of Lismore. "I got a little seven-month-old baby at home and I am staying ashore because I am doing it for her. You stick by your fellow fishermen." 

Geographic location: ANTIGONISH

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Recent comments

  • Colleen Curley Evans
    May 13, 2013 - 11:08

    Cheering you on in Ontario, Dan MacDougall, Brad Curley and all of the fishermen/women. Do not put up and shut up like greedy corporate Canada wants you to do. All of you have too much invested and yes you need to secure your family's futures!

  • Russell.
    May 12, 2013 - 20:30

    Not a chance. Theirs a bunch of us going tomorrow on pei. We can't afford not to go, it's over we're done.

  • john mac donald
    May 12, 2013 - 16:34

    for 2014 we should be looking for a quota when that is reached by each fisher they are done for the season and leave the time limit from the first of may until the end of june this would slow the glut of lobster any hopefully receive a better price for our lobster

    • Trevor
      May 13, 2013 - 08:59

      Nice Mustang in the forefront of the picture! Must belong to the photographer.

    • chief wiggam
      May 13, 2013 - 11:53

      HAHAHA OMG! Trevor that actually did make me LOL! yes it may be a mustang but, the little rubber nibs are almost worn off the tires.