Lobster season extension hoped for Thursday

P.E.I. lobster fishermen say if the lobster season is going to be extended they need time to prepare.

Harbour ice forced late start to lobster season

If the lobster season is going to be extended, fishermen need to make preparations. (Submitted by Devin Wolters)

P.E.I. lobster fishermen are hoping for news Thursday on whether or not the season will be extended.

A late spring that left ice in the harbours in early May delayed the start of the season in some areas by more than a week. The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association has asked for make-up days to be added to the end of the season.

That decision is up to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Ian MacPherson, executive director of the P.E.I. FA, said fishermen were hoping for a decision from DFO Wednesday and many are anxious for an update.

"The last several days have been very hectic, lots of phone calls and it's understandable," said MacPherson.

"The fishers, the captains need to advise their crew, need to line up bait. Certainly the plant people are in the same boat in terms of what's happening at the plant level. I had one gentleman call and say: they want me to go back to work out west and they would like an answer. So there's a lot of things up in the air for a lot of people."

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says discussions with fishermen are ongoing.

Central to the decision is the summer moulting period for lobsters, which some believe could be delayed because of the cold spring. The season is regularly scheduled to end June 30, as the lobsters start to moult in July.

Newly moulted lobsters generally do not survive capture long enough to make it to market.

The lobster fishing season will end June 30 if DFO doesn't grant an extension.