09/18/2011 09:39 EDT | Updated 11/18/2011 05:12 EST

N.L. fisheries minister says union protests won't help resolve processing issues

BAY ROBERTS, N.L. - Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman says protests like the one that prevented a fishing boat from leaving Bay Roberts on Saturday are not the way to resolve differences.

Several dozen workers from the Ocean Choice Intl. fish plant in Marystown, N.L., refused to let anyone on or off a trawler loaded with red fish for several hours.

They are upset that the fish is being taken out of the province for processing.

Jackman says he understands the frustration of the workers and is working on the problem, but adds that protests are more of a hindrance than a help.

The president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union, Earle McCurdy, and Marystown local union president Allan Moulton say the workers are earning less now than they did seven years ago.

Moulton says it's unfair that the company continues to reap the benefits of harvested fish while workers make no money.