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Lobster fishermen report record numbers in Quebec's Gaspé region

Will summer 2019 be a record season for Gaspé lobster? Three weeks in and the preliminary data suggests that just may be the case.

Effort to conserve lobster fisheries has likely paid off, locals say, as a profitable season is underway

Jimmy Lepage says lobster season is booming already and there's still seven weeks left. (Radio-Canada)

Will the summer of 2019 be a record season for Gaspé lobster? Three weeks into the season, preliminary data suggests that just may be the case.

Sunday morning, Jimmy Lepage and his crew set sail in the sector of Percé, Que., a small municipality near the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula.

This is the first year he has been fishing in this area.

So far this season, it's been great, he said. Lepage will rake in more than 100,000 pounds of lobster. By comparison, the average was 33,000 per fisherman in 2017, which was also considered a record year.

Knowing that the price hovers between $6.50 and $7.75 per pound, lobster fishermen are looking forward to a big payout.

Lobster fishermen haul in their catch in L'Anse-à-Beaufils, one of the landings affected by last year's closure of certain fishing areas to protect whales. (Claude Côté/Radio-Canada)

"It's starting off as a great year," said Lepage. "We are taking good weigh-ins and we are heading toward a record year."

Lepage is looking forward to enjoying the seven weeks left in lobster season.

Especially after 2018's disastrous season, during which right whale conservation efforts caused repeated fishing area closures.

For the past 20 years, Gaspé lobster fishermen have been making efforts to preserve the precious resource.

Laying females are released when trapped and last year the minimum size allowed for fishing increased from 82 to 82.55 millimetres.

In addition, the number of lobster fishermen still on the job is on the decline.

Locals say these efforts are paying off and that's why this season is already looking so good.

With files from Radio-Canada

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