You know the saying; it’s five o’clock somewhere? Well that holds true for lobster season on the east coast. It’s always lobster season somewhere!
According to sources (my parents) in Nova Scotia, the wharves are piled high with lobster traps waiting for the season to open. It’s a very exciting time of the year in our area of the province… boats are put in the water and small fishing communities are busy again. Unfortunately this winter that never stops giving has also wreaked havoc on the lobster season and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has delayed the season because of ice conditions. The season in the Northumberland Strait area where I’m from runs from May 1st to June 30th and DFO has said that it will update the delay status closer to the 30th of April.
DFO carefully controls the opening and closing of lobster season in the Maritimes so, as seen on the map above, the seasons alternate around the year to give the population adequate time for regrowth and regeneration. The female lobster spawns millions of eggs, of which only one tenth of one percent grow to maturity. It’s a hard life for lobsters in the North Atlantic, it takes six to nine years for lobsters to reach a size that can be harvested. DFO lists their objectives with regard to inshore lobster management as 1. to not damage productivity so the ecosystem stays healthy, 2. to protect the biodiversity of the ecosystem to ensure resilience and 3. to protect against modification of the ecosystem by chemical or physical influences.
The lobster catch has risen steadily in Nova Scotia in the past few years. A decade ago the catch was an average of 3,000 to 4,000 lbs per boat but the recent landing average per boat for the two month season in the Northumberland Strait has risen to 10,000 lbs. The landings along the South Shore in 2012 were an astounding three times the 50 year average. The Bay of Fundy and much of Cape Breton has also seen large increases in landings. Given that lobster exporting is worth $385 million annually in Nova Scotia, a healthy industry is in everyone’s best interest.
God speed and safe travels to all fishers in the Northumberland Strait area. Dinner tables around the world thank you.
You can find more information about the DFO lobster management program here.