Lob­ster sea­son start de­layed

De­ci­sion was be­ing made Wed­nes­day morn­ing on a Fri­day or Satur­day start

Tri-County Vanguard - - FRONT PAGE - TINA COMEAU TRICOUNTY VAN­GUARD

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.

KATHY JOHN­SON

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.

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