Nova Scotia

Southwest N.S. lobster season opens

Lobster season in southwest Nova Scotia opened Monday with boats leaving the wharfs carrying full loads of traps, and hopes of higher prices.
A loaded lobster boat on the Rockville wharf near Yarmouth, N.S. ((Phonse Jessome/CBC))
Lobster season in southwest Nova Scotia opened Monday with boats leaving the wharfs carrying full loads of traps, and hopes of higher prices.

Fishermen from Barrington to Digby left their wharfs at 6 a.m., and others from Cole Harbour to Barrington left at 7 a.m.

Ashton Spinney, a longtime fisherman and a representative for fishermen in Area 34, said safety is first on fishermen's minds.

"Most of the large vessels we have now are very capable of handling all the traps that are aboard so there's not an overcapacity," he said Sunday.

He said light winds on the first day are "vitally important."

"What you can't see from around the wharf here is that out there, the chop gets higher, the tides, they have a lot of factors in different ports."

Monday is known as dumping day, when traps are put into the water but are not to be hauled until the next day. At midnight, fishermen in southwest Nova Scotia are permitted to begin pulling the traps out.

Spinney said many crews were ready to go at 6 a.m.

"If you got four or five hours to travel, they try to go as soon as they can because it's so much distance and so much work to do in one day," he said.

Although it's still too early to know what the price of lobster may be, Spinney said fishermen are hoping it sells for at least $5 a pound.

"That's to get us by so that there might be a little bit of a reserve if you have a breakdown," he said. "We have met with dealers and spent the summer working with them and still there's no way of knowing right at the moment."

As many as 1,700 licence holders are eligible to fish in Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34, the most productive lobster fishing grounds in Canada.

Area 34 covers the waters from Burns Point in Digby County to Goose Point and Shelburne County. Area 33 covers the waters from Goose Point in Shelburne County to Cole Harbour and Halifax County.

Southwest Nova Scotia's lobster season continues until May 31.

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