A Canadian judge has issued a 10-day injunction, preventing New Brunswick lobstermen from blocking shipments of low-priced Maine lobsters to processing plants in the province. The ruling, issued Thursday, limits the number of picketers to six and requires them to be at least 200 feet from a lobster processing plant – otherwise, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is authorized to forcibly remove them.
Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, in separate press releases, applauded the ruling, expressing their hope that it will ease tensions and allow delivery of Maine lobsters to Canadian processors to resume. Both senators called for a long-term solution that would restore, in Snowe's words, "the collaborative relationship" Maine and Canadian lobster trading partners have enjoyed "for generations."
In a related move, the Portland Press Herald reported that Maine Gov. Paul LePage plans to meet today with representatives of Maine's three largest lobster processors -- Linda Bean's Maine Lobster, Shucks Maine Lobster and Cozy Harbor Seafood -- to discuss what steps might be taken on this side of the border to help Maine lobstermen. Adding urgency to those talks are dock prices well below $3 a pound, which Maine lobstermen say fails to cover their fuel and bait expenses.