Lobster season delayed
Fishermen trap a couple extra days to prepare after opening pushed ahead by weather
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.”
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.