Lob­ster sea­son de­layed

Fish­er­men trap a cou­ple ex­tra days to pre­pare af­ter open­ing pushed ahead by weather

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY MONT­GOMERY-DUPE CAPE BRETON POST

Fish­er­men from Bay St. Lawrence to Gabarus have caught a cou­ple ex­tra days to pre­pare for lob­ster fish­ing sea­son.

Herb Nash of Glace Bay, a fish­er­man and pres­i­dent of the 4Vn Man­age­ment Board As­so­ci­a­tion, said open­ing day for Area 27 was May 15 but was post­poned un­til Wed­nes­day at 5 a.m.

He said it the de­ci­sion came from the De­part­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans and the har­bour rep­re­sen­ta­tives due to high winds in the fore­cast.

“They will be adding the two days to the end,” he said.

“The fish­er­men don’t mind the can­cel­la­tion be­cause of the fore­cast — they can’t set traps in that weather any­way.”

Nash said tra­di­tion­ally the sea­son would open on the Satur­day prior to May 15 but the rule was changed last year.

“They open now on May 15 re­gard­less of the day it is.”

He said the only ex­cep­tion is if the 15th lands on a Sun­day. He said some har­bours don’t fish on Sun­day so all the har­bours re­spect that.

Nash said many fish­er­men pre­ferred the sea­son open­ing on a Satur­day.

“A few peo­ple are growl­ing they don’t like the new rule as they can only get ex­tra help on Satur­day when other peo­ple aren’t work­ing.”

He said each har­bour has a rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Lob­ster Ad­vi­sory Board, which voted for the change last year.

Nash said it looks like the sea­son will open with de­cent prices. He said the lob­ster fish­ery opened in ar­eas 33 and 34 in South­west Nova Scotia at the end of Novem­ber with prices around $6-$6.50 per pound, but by Christ­mas prices rose to $8.50-$9.

Nash said the Asian mar­ket is pay­ing more for lob­sters this year be­cause they are hav­ing a hard time get­ting them.

He said right now fish­er­men are get­ting $8-$8.25.

“Last year we opened at $6.25. We hope it will stay at $8 lb. for a while be­cause there’s not a lot of lob­ster out there. South­west Nova aren’t hav­ing big catches, lob­ster are scarce ev­ery­where so far.”

Nash said tra­di­tion­ally they don’t get a lot of lob­ster the first week be­cause the water is cold so if the price is up it will help.

Area 27 ex­tends from Bay St. Lawrence to Gabarus har­bour.

There are about 40 boats fish­ing from Glace Bay har­bour in­clud­ing John Thom­son of the Natasha Lee II.

Thom­son was at the Glace Bay har­bour Fri­day pre­par­ing his traps with the help of sons Jack­son, 3, and Ryan, 13, who are fol­low­ing in their fa­ther’s foot­steps.

Thom­son said he’s en­cour­aged by the lob­ster prices right now.

“Fuel and bait has con­tin­ued to go up the last few years but not the price of lob­sters,” he said.

“It’s about time the fish­er­men got a lit­tle back.”

Thom­son said he would have liked to see the sea­son open much ear­lier, around May 1. How­ever, he didn’t mind Mon­day’s open­ing be­ing pushed ahead with the rough weather in the fore­cast.

”If we set with those winds ex­pected we’d then have to be out there fix­ing the traps back up.”

SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE/CAPE BRETON POST

Fish­er­man John Thom­son, right, of Glace Bay checks traps with help from sons Jack­son, 3, and Ryan 13, while at Glace Bay har­bour to pre­pare his boat Natasha Lee II for the sea­son, which opens Wed­nes­day in Area 27.

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