'Everyone is excited': Spring lobster season set to begin

The 2017 spring lobster season off PEI opens April 29 and market indicators 'look favourable' for strong prices, according to a provincial fishermen's association.

Lobster season set to begin April 29 with more than 1,000 boats hitting the water

The wharf at French River is quiet right now, but it will a busy place when the spring lobster season begins in less than two weeks. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The spring lobster season is less than two weeks away, and P.E.I. fishermen are anxious to get on their boats out and traps set in the waters off the Island.

"I think there's a lot of excitement," said Mitch Jollimore, vice-president of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association. "We've had an ideal spring weather-wise. It's given everyone an opportunity to get onto the wharf early and get their gear ready and a lot of boats are in the water already, so I think everyone is just eager now to get to the 29th."

'Everyone is just excited'

Mitch Jollimore, vice-president of the PEI Fishermen's Association attaches a tag to one of his hundreds of traps. (Tom Steepe)

Despite the recent cool temperatures that have even included the odd snowflake, fishermen have been out at harbours across the province tagging traps.

Last year saw better prices than the previous year, with fishermen taking home an average of $6.50 and $6.75 a pound for their lobster.

"From an Island-wide perspective we had a strong season," Jollimore said.  "We were up a little bit. The prices were strong and favourable for us."

Fishermen are hoping for another strong year in 2017 and Jollimore said market indicators suggest it's in the cards.

"We've got a good exchange rate with our largest trading partner, and we've spent a lot of time and energy building new markets and being able to increase our exports," he said. "So right now, everything is looking good leading up to the spring and everyone is just excited to get going."

'Good weather helps everyone'

Last season ended with high catches and prices and fishermen are hoping for more of the same in 2017. (Tom Steepe)

"I think everyone is really looking forward to it, eagerly waiting to get on the water and it is a roll of the dice," Jollimore said. "That's the nature of the job. As far as we can control...weather is out of our hands, but obviously, good weather helps everyone."

Close to 1,000 boats will be in the water at 6 a.m. April 29 for setting day. The lobster season in fishing area 24 and 26A runs until June 29.

MORE P.E.I. News I How farmers markets can do better business

MORE P.E.I. News I New Holland College course created for culinary scientists