Lobster fishing opening date still unclear
Opening date to be discussed in conference calls Thursday
The earliest Prince Edward Island lobster fishermen will be setting traps for the spring fishery is Monday, May 4, according to the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association.
However, Association president Craig Avery says boats on the South shore of the Island may have to wait longer than that because, as Avery told CBC Monday, most of the harbours from East Point to Victoria are still iced in.
He said conditions on the North shore are variable, with harbours free of ice along the western tip of P.E.I. but a good number still impassable from Hardy's Channel to the eastern end of the Island.
The opening date will be discussed in two conference calls on Thursday, said Avery. The morning call involves only fishermen and then an afternoon call with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. DFO confirms Thursday is the next day the season opening will be discussed, but officials would not confirm the PEIFA's suggested timing.
"You know, there is some fishermen getting really anxious where their harbour's been open now for the last week and boats in the water and they're fishing herring so that will have to be discussed Thursday morning," said Avery.
"I expect Thursday morning will tell a lot of, you know, how this thing is going to unfold."
Last week, DFO decided to delay the April 30 opening of the spring lobster fishery due to ice in many harbours.
Avery said the weather is not offering any help.
"Strong northerly and and northeast winds is pushing ice back towards the Island again and you have to be very cautious because it can move a long ways, especially when you get the tides behind it."
The Coast Guard says seven P.E.I. harbours have asked for assistance from a hovercraft that breaks up ice. That vessel is currently working in northern New Brunswick and Coast Guard officials do not expected it to arrive in P.E.I. for another seven to 10 days, at the earliest.