Southwest Nova Scotia lobster fishery hauls big catches in good weather

Fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia say this fall's unusually nice weather is making their jobs easier on the water and making lobster easier to catch.

'This year it's like summer,' says fisherman Benjie Nickerson in West Pubnico, N.S.

West Pubnico fisherman Benjie Nickerson says this season's weather is the best he's ever seen. (CBC)

The winter lobster season in southwest Nova Scotia is bringing in big catches, thanks to clear skies, calm seas and frisky lobster, fishermen say.

"This is by far the best year weather-wise we've ever had," fisherman Benjie Nickerson said from the wharf in West Pubnico, a small Acadian fishing village about 40 kilometres southwest of Yarmouth.

"It stays calm. There's no seas and we can move our traps wherever we want."

Fisherman Graham d'Eon says this season in southwestern Nova Scotia is better than last year. (CBC)

The warm weather means more lobster, fisherman Graham d'Eon said. 

"The lobsters move a lot more. When the weather's not good, they hide. When it's cold, they don't move," d'Eon said. "It's really good this year."

Some fishermen stay on the water for two to three days at a time, since many boats can store around 9,000 kilograms of lobster. (CBC)

The mild weather makes the work less taxing and possibly safer for fishermen, who are out on the boats for sometimes days at a time. 

But there's already been tragedy this season. On Nov. 30, the first and busiest day of the season, Keith Stubbert died after he went overboard southwest of Yarmouth.

The warm, calm water makes it easier for fishermen to get around. (CBC)

Ten days after the season opened, there are thousands of pounds of live lobster being held in water off wharves, waiting to be sold. Lobster is going for $6 per pound right now, about $2 more than last year.

"Normally, we have to struggle with the weather and this year it's like summer. We've never seen it before — or I haven't," said Nickerson, who's fished about 25 years.

"It just helps. Everything goes easier. Everything goes faster."

The lobster are easier to catch when they're moving around in warm water, fishermen say. (CBC)

Some worry a glut in the fishery could push the price down, but Nickerson says winter could stop that.

"When the weather changes, we'll be done because the water will cool off, lobsters will go dormant and then we'll be done to till the spring," he said.

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