A strong shore price was being paid when the first commercial lobster fishery in the Bay of Fundy opened for the season on Oct. 12.
Lobster fishing area (LFA) 35 opened a day earlier than usual due to the weather forecast. LFAs 36, 37 and 38, also in the Bay of Fundy, were scheduled to start Nov. 14.
This year, LFA 35 opened with a $9 to $10/pound shore price. Last year, the season opened at $6 to $7/pound being paid for the catch.
“The catches are a little low from last year,” said Lockeport buyer Mike Cotter, Cotter’s Ocean Products. “The quality so far has been very, very good compared to last year. The markets are a little slow but the price is good. We’ve been bringing some stuff in and we’re very pleased with the quality… so far so good.”
There are a total of 93 licence holders in LFA 35. According to preliminary DFO statistics, landings totalled 2,395 mt, with a landed value of $54 million for the 2021–2022 season in LFA 35. For the 2020–2021 season, landings totalled 2,513 mt valued at $51 million. In 2019–2020, LFA 35 fishers landed 2,645 mt worth $47 million.
Meanwhile in neighbouring LFAs 36, 37 and 38, “Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Canadian Coast Guard are in the planning stages for the opening of lobster fishing areas 36, 37 and 38. We are working with our search and rescue partners to promote a safe opening for all harvesters. The final plan for the opening will be determined following the LFA’s season opening meetings,” said Lauren Sankey, DFO communications.
Going into the season at the end of October, North Atlantic right whales were present in the Bay of Fundy.
“Several have been detected over multiple days since September 30, triggering various temporary closures,” said Sankey. “There are currently four full grids and eight partial grids closed in the Bay of Fundy and more closures could take place if right whales continue to be detected in the area.”
The fishing grids that are closed fall within LFAs 36, 37, and 38.
There are a total of 313 licences in LFAs 36 and 38. “No licences are issued for LFA 37 specifically. Licence holders in LFAs 36 and 38 shared LFA 37 since its creation in 1986,” said Sankey. LFA 36 has 177 licence holders, while LFA 38 has 136 licence holders.
According to preliminary statistics from DFO, LFA 36 fishers landed 2,786 mt in the 2021–22 season valued at $62 million. In LFA 38, 4,170 mt were landed worth $91 million.
In 2020–2021, 3,205 mt of lobster were caught valued at $59 million in LFA 36. In LFA 38, landings came in at 4,219 mt worth $77 million.
In 2019–2020 in LFA 36, landings totalled 3,094 mt, valued at $54 million. In LFA 38, landings came in at 4,386 mt, worth $75 million wharfside.