For­tune Bay lob­ster fish­ery off to good start

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY AL­LAN STOOD­LEY FOR­TUNE, N.L.

The For­tune Bay lob­ster fish­ery is in full swing and most har­vesters are re­port­ing catch rates just as good or “a bit bet­ter” than last year. How­ever, the open­ing price an­nounced this past week was $8.11 per pound, 20 per cent be­low the price paid the first week in 2017.

For­tune fisher Rachael Durn­ford is en­thu­si­as­tic about this year’s fish­ery so far, say­ing, “It’s go­ing great. The weather has been pretty good and our daily catch is a bit bet­ter or for sure on a par with last year.”

Grand Beach fisher Joan Fol­lett, who has been fish­ing with her hus­band, Leonard, for at least twenty years, agrees with Rachael’s es­ti­mates re­gard­ing catch rates be­ing up a lit­tle.

Last year was an­other good sea­son for lob­ster re­turns in area 11 which takes in the whole of For­tune Bay from Point Crewe on the tip of the Burin Penin­sula and go­ing west as far as Fran­cois. The to­tal recorded catch in the New­found­land re­gion was in ex­cess of six-and-ahalf mil­lion pounds with a to­tal value over $45.5 mil­lion.

For­tune Bay, with only 11 per cent of lob­ster fish­ers in this prov­ince, accounts for ap­prox­i­mately 40 per cent of the to­tal pro­vin­cial land­ings, val­ued at over $17 mil­lion.

Over the past seven years, no other sin­gle lob­ster fish­ing area has had that same level of recorded land­ings as For­tune Bay, ac­cord­ing to DFO.

At last year’s prices for the nine­week lob­ster sea­son, lo­cal fish­ers av­er­aged ap­prox­i­mately $7 per pound for the tasty crus­taceans.

AL­LAN STOOD­LEY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Grand Beach fish­ers ar­rive in port with their daily catch of lob­ster. This year’s sea­son, which kicked off on April 21, will end the third week in June. The catch rate so far this sea­son is on a par or a lit­tle bet­ter than last year, ac­cord­ing to most...

AL­LAN STOOD­LEY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Vet­eran Grand Beach fisher Joan Fol­lett gets some help from a friend, Clarissa Col­lier, as she gets her­ring ready for bait­ing her lob­ster pots.

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