Concern grows over live lobster thefts in N.S.
Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, January 16, 2016 12:20PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 16, 2016 2:20PM EST
SAULNIERVILLE, N.S. -- Recent thefts of roughly 2,700 kilograms of lobster in Nova Scotia are troubling officials in Atlantic Canada's billion-dollar lobster fishing industry.
Hubert Saulnier, a lobster fisherman based in Saulnierville, N.S., said the valuable crustaceans were someone's livelihood and a lot of work and money went into catching them.
"When you start affecting somebody else's livelihood, I mean, a lot of wars are started affecting somebody else's livelihood," said Saulnier, a former president of the Maritime Fishermen's Union Local 9.
"This is the livelihood of a few men and it doesn't belong to the thieves, it belongs to the individuals. It's really too bad."
The RCMP say 48 crates of live lobster, more than 2,100 kilograms, were stolen from an outdoor pound at a business on Cape Sable Island earlier this week.
The theft followed a similar incident last month, when 14 crates of lobster were stolen from a secure compound on Morris Island near Yarmouth.
Saulnier said at roughly six dollars per pound, the latest theft would have amounted to roughly $28,000 in lobster.
But Saulnier said it's not just revenue that is lost when someone steals a catch. Fishermen have expenses, including fuel, bait and paying the crew.
He said two crew members usually received 15 per cent each of the catch and would have to be paid regardless of the theft. Saulnier estimated the expenses for the 2,100-kilogram catch could have reached roughly $11,000, which would bring the total loss to roughly $39,000.
It would have taken four or five days to catch 2,100 kilograms of lobster, Saulnier estimated.
Saulnier said he's concerned about the incidents and believes the thieves had an elaborate plan, as live lobsters have a limited shelf life.
"It's a lot of work to steal that amount," said Saulnier, who fishes for lobster in the Bay of Fundy.
"When you have a live product in the back of a truck, you can't just store them away for three months and then start selling them on the black market. Whoever did it must have had... a buyer lined up."
The Mounties are asking the public to watch out for people trying to sell an unusually large number of lobsters.