Weather delays mar start of Nova Scotia lobster season

Published on
November 30, 2018

It’s been a slow-to-no start to the lobster season in Southwest Nova Scotia, Canada.

Fishermen in Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34, which are among the world’s most lucrative fishing grounds, have been tied to the wharf for almost a week longer than expected. LFA 33 covers the area from Halifax to the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia. LFA 34 is off the western edge of the province along the Acadian Shore.

The so-called “Dump Day” when fishermen are allowed to begin setting their lobster pots – which some in the industry object to because it demeans both the work of the fishermen and devalues a premium product – was to be Monday, 26 November. However, forecasts for back-to-back weather systems bringing rain, snow and strong winds, followed by gale warnings, united industry associations and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in calling for a delay to the start of this year’s season.

Barring another change in forecasts, the 700 boats which fish LFA 33 will start their season at 6 a.m. Saturday, 1 December and the 970 boats fishing LFA 34 launch an hour later at 7 a.m.

Both areas fish to 31 May. A delay in the start of their fishing season doesn’t add an extension to their end date.

The 2017 season was also a week late in starting, which has some in the industry asking if a fixed annual date (currently the last Monday in November) is realistic and if a floating date, taking weather patterns at the time into consideration, wouldn’t be better for fishermen. 

The silver lining to the time lost tied to the wharf is the belief that such delays in the lead-up to Christmas increase the price paid for the catch.

Reporting from Eastern Canada

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