New Brunswick

Growing tradition: Alma lobster fleet launch brings out the community

Lobster fishermen will be feeling the love early Monday morning in Alma, when about 10 boats leave the harbour for the start of lobster season.

About 10 boats will make their way out of the harbour early Monday morning

The lobster fleet will depart to fireworks early Monday morning. (Submitted by Village of Alma)

Lobster fishermen will be feeling the love early Monday in Alma, N.B., when about 10 boats leave the harbour for the start of lobster season.

"This year it's kind of been kicked up," said Graham Copp, owner of the Fundy General Store and a former lobster fisherman.

"I love it. I think everybody here does now. It's gone from 40 to 50 people to a few 100 people now being around for it."

The village of Alma is hosting its lobster festival over the weekend to coincide with the start of the season.

"The fleet launch has become a really good weekend for us here," said Copp, noting the weather forecast is favourable.

Weekend events

The festival started on Friday with crafts and karaoke. There is a barbecue and music on Saturday.

The pancake breakfast kicks off Sunday's activities. One of the highlights, according to Coun. Susan MacCallum, is the lobster plunge challenge, where will see some people going for a cold swim. 

People have always gone to the wharf to see fishermen off, but in the past few years it has become a popular event in Alma, N.B. (Alma Village)

The evening ends with people gathering to prepare for the launch, which is scheduled for just after midnight.

MacCallum said it's important in Alma to let the fishermen know the community appreciates the part they play in the village. 

"The community appreciates the hazards and work they put themselves through."

Late-night launch

The fleet has to make the late night departure because of the intense tides in the Bay of Fundy. While midnight is an early start, MacCallum said it's better than last year when the fleet launched at around 2 a.m. 

About 40 people go out on the water shortly after midnight when lobster season starts. (Submitted by Brittney MacDonald)

The weather plays a role in the turnout for the event. Last year the potluck dinner by the wharf was a cold one, but this year the festival has a tent with heaters just in case.

"Mother nature can do what she wants and we're ready for her this year," said MacCallum.

About the Author

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.