New Brunswick

Start of lobster season delayed due to bad weather

The Fundy North Fishermen's Association, which has harbours across 250 kilometres, voted to delay the start of the season due to poor weather conditions.

The Fundy North Fishermen's Association voted to delay the start of the season

The Fundy North Fishermen's Association voted to stay off the water on Monday. The weather, which calls for snow and high winds, are a danger in the lobster fishing industry. (Kayla Hounsell/CBC)

The start of lobster season— which normally starts on the second Tuesday of November — has been delayed until at least Thursday, according to the president of the Fundy North Fishermen's Association.

Brad Small, the president of the association, said all of the harbours under the association — which spans from the American border to Alma, N.B. — voted to stay off the water due to weather Monday.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for much New Brunswick and some snowfall warnings for northern areas Monday.

The weather will also bring another round of strong and gusty winds along with plummeting temperatures — a mixture of things Small said makes the job of setting traps very dangerous.

A weather call involving all the harbours under the association voted not to head out Tuesday.

Small weather window 

Small said there is small window of opportunity when the weather is calm enough to send boats and fishermen out into the water.

"You only have short windows," he said Monday.

The president of the Fundy North Fishermen's Association said he would like to sit down with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to discuss the flexibility of the start of the season. (Marielle Torrefranca/CBC)

The harbours, or the areas where fishermen are located, run from the American border to Goose River near Alma, N.B.

Small said having harbours across 250 kilometres makes it hard to pinpoint one day that is good weather-wise for everyone.

Small said the associated asked the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to move up the date for the start of the season, but he said the department said it couldn't be done.

DFO told CBC New Brunswick in an email the department would have more details to share Tuesday.

The delayed start has been stressful for the fishermen who are eager to get their traps out. (CBC)

Small said he would like to sit down with DFO to talk about the flexibility of when fishermen can head out on the water.

"It's a little tense at this time," he said. "It's pretty hard when you're in harbour where the weather is fine tomorrow morning and you can't set traps."

Stressful on the fishermen 

He said the delayed start is stressful on the fishermen. He said while frustration mounts, safety is paramount.

Small said it is also financially hard on the industry. He said as delays continue, lobsters grow, mature, get stronger and migrate away.

"There is no way that you can make up what you lose at the first season in one day at the end of the season," he said.

Small said the worst case scenario is they don't get set until spring and the best case is Thursday.

"Nobody can make the weather," he said. "Yes, there are things that could have been that might have made it better but regulation won't allow it."

"This has been the worst year ever trying to find a good window."