10/18/2012 12:18 EDT | Updated 12/18/2012 05:12 EST

Lobsters dying in warm ocean waters: fishermen

The Cape Breton fishing industry is urging the provincial government to do more to help lobster processors build larger holdings tanks after thousands of lobsters died in the warmer ocean waters.

Osborne Burke, the general manager of Victoria Co-operative Fisheries, told the Standing Committee on Resources the current practise of having ocean water holding pens is becoming too dangerous.

"In Cape Breton this year, probably a half a million pounds of lobsters went to the dump, live lobster," he said Thursday.

"A total waste of lobster from high mortality because of weak lobster, warm weather, warm water."

Burke said the Victoria Co-operative Fisheries alone had to dump approximately 25,850 kilograms of lobster.

The cost to double the holding capacity of the co-op's chilled tank would be about $500,000.

Burke said given the current state of the industry, lobster processors can't be expected to shoulder the full cost themselves.