For­tune Bay lob­ster fish­ery off to a slow start.

Fish­ers re­main op­ti­mistic

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Al­lan Stood­ley Al­lan Stood­ley re­sides at Grand Bank. He can be reached at am­stood­ley@hot­ and he wel­comes com­ments on this or any other ar­ti­cle he has writ­ten.

In the 21 years he’s been lob­ster fish­ing Ernest “Tub” Fol­lett of Grand Bank says he’s never seen a spring as bad as this one.

In his words, “It’s not fit; day af­ter day the wind has been east­erly or north­east with freez­ing cold tem­per­a­tures. On this side of the bay it causes the wa­ter to be­come slubby and clear and lob­sters just don’t crawl when it’s like that”.

How­ever, with the high­est prices on record be­ing paid for the tasty crus­taceans, most fish­ers re­main very op­ti­mistic that the 2017 sea­son will turn out to be a good one.

“The first cou­ple of weeks our land­ings were about the same as last year but since then they’ve been down”, Fol­lett ex­plained, but he says, “I’m hope­ful it will pick up over the next few weeks.”

The 60-year-old fisherman feels the For­tune Bay lob­ster stocks are healthy with a lot of egg-bear­ing fe­males and young lob­ster ap­pear­ing in the mix.

“I do see a lob­ster fish­ery in For­tune Bay for a long time,” he said.

Boyd Grandy, 67, and his wife, Yvonne, of Gar­nish have been fish­ing to­gether for 33 years.

Al­though his catch of lob­ster so far this sea­son is down a bit due to the weather; he also made the state­ment that be­cause they are also see­ing “lots of un­der­size lob­sters and spawn­ers, it looks good for the fu­ture.”

This could be the last year the Grandys will be in­volved in the lob­ster fish­ery as Boyd has been hav­ing back prob­lems.

Boyd sums up his oc­cu­pa­tion this way.

“The lob­ster fish­ery has been good to us, it has pro­vided us with a good liveli­hood,” he said.

This year’s lob­ster sea­son in For­tune Bay opened on April 15 and will close on June 17. Open­ing prices paid to the fish­ers by the buyers started at $9.86 per pound and as of last week was hov­er­ing around $7.75.

In 2016, New­found­land fish har­vesters caught nearly 2,900 met­ric tonnes of lob­sters with a landed value of $36.5 mil­lion. That’s dou­ble the value of the lob­ster mar­keted in this province in 2014.

Of­fi­cials with the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans (DFO) have con­firmed that once again the For­tune Bay area ac­counted for roughly 40 per cent of the New­found­land re­gional land­ings of lob­ster. This means that For­tune Bay fish har­vesters, from lob­ster alone, pumped nearly $15 mil­lion of new money into the ail­ing pro­vin­cial econ­omy.

There are 265 fish­ers in For­tune Bay par­tic­i­pat­ing in the lob­ster fish­ery with each of them em­ploy­ing a deck­hand. They are gen­er­at­ing jobs for truck­ers and oth­ers han­dling the prod­uct on­shore and bring­ing it to main­land mar­kets.

If you then in­clude the value of other species, in­clud­ing crab, ground­fish, scal- lops, whelk and sea cucumbers — also caught by fish har­vesters from the area — you should gain an un­der­stand­ing of the value of the lo­cal fish­ery and the huge con­tribu- tion it makes to the province.


Into the cook­ing pot.


For­tune Bay lob­sters ready for the pot or to be shipped to mar­ket.


Form For­tune Bay to the din­ner ta­ble, a feed of lob­ster is served.

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