Lobster season start delayed
Decision was being made Wednesday morning on a Friday or Saturday start
First the decision was to delay the Monday start to the lobster season.
Then the decision was made to push it back to the end of this week.
By the time you read this story, the decision on whether there is a Friday or Saturday start will likely already have been made. (Visit our websites for an update.)
During a Monday morning 8 a.m. conference call that took place for LFA 34 (the lobster district that includes all of Yarmouth County and parts of Shelburne and Digby counties) the decision was made to have another conference call on Wednesday morning to decide on a Friday or Saturday opening.
The vote to hold off until beyond Wednesday was made by the port reps given the forecast for the next few days. Fourteen LFA 34 port reps voted no-go until later in the week, two voted to go mid-week and one rep abstained from the vote. The vote breakdown was similar to the Nov. 24 vote that had occurred when a decision was made not to head on out Monday.
A Monday morning conference call also took place in LFA 33 (this district spans from Shelburne County along the south shore to Halifax County). The decision to hold off until week’s end for the season start was unanimous in that call.
Going into the conference calls it was already known Tuesday was a write-off for the season start as it is forecasting gales. Strong winds are also forecasted for Wednesday and Thursday was also not seen as an optimal dumping day.
Traditionally the lobster season starts the final Monday of November, although the past two years the season start has been delayed by a day due to winds. A few years ago the season start was pushed back to Saturday.
There was a lot of banter on Facebook among fishermen over the decision not to start the season on Monday, Nov. 26 – people agreed and disagreed with the decision – but Bernie Berry of the Coldwater Lobster Association, one of the port reps to take part in both conference calls, said the majority of those on Monday morning’s call stood by the decision not to have started the season on Nov. 26.
While the weather would have been okay in some parts of the district, for others it would have been a risky day to be heading to sea with boats loaded with traps and gear.
“We have to err on the side of caution,” Berry said, noting there were reports of seas 2-3 metre seas and 5-metres seas Monday in parts of LFA 34 and LFA 33.
“Because LFA 34 is so large you can’t satisfy everyone,” he said about any decision that is made. But safety for all – as opposed to safety for some – has to be the ultimate consideration.
Berry noted another advantage of the season starting later in the week is the “bad tides” that would have impacted some fishing ports will be gone by week’s end.
Some comments being made on social media Monday suggested that the conference call to determine the start of the season should have taken place this past Sunday instead of on Saturday since there was a change in the forecast after the Saturday conference call had taken place. Asked if a Sunday call would have made a difference, Berry says this scenario was discussed Monday and the decision to delay would have been the same regardless.
“It would have been nasty for some to have gone out on Monday,” he said.
Another thing he said that was trying to be achieved in determining when the season starts is to give fishermen more than one day’s advance notice.
“We have 16 or 17 amateur meteorologists trying to make the call for everyone,” he said, noting, again, not everyone will agree with the decisions.
But in the end safety is the ultimate call.
Search and rescue resources and assets will be deployed on the opening day.
The lobster season in southwestern Nova Scotia has been delayed to week’s end but at the East Pubnico Wharf in Yarmouth County on Monday morning, Nov. 26 – the day the season would have started if not for the delay – there was still activity happening with traps being baited and gear being loaded.