The start of the LFA 33 and 34 lobster fishery and the Christmas season are being celebrated in southwestern Nova Scotia this year with three community lobster pot Christmas trees and a buoy tree.
Started last year, the 24-foot buoy tree, topped with a two-foot radar reflector, stands stately on the Dennis Point wharf in Lower West Pubnico.
A project of the West Side Improvement Society, the buoy tree was constructed out of three stainless steel sections, covered in netting, then covered in buoys and lights.
Last year, visitors came nightly to see the tree, said Society member Yvette d’Entremont. “There was a steady stream of vehicles,” she said.
The buoy tree was made to be taken apart and stored. “We had a canvas made to cover the three sections. We took it down and stored it with all the buoys on it. This year we just need to take the tarps off and make sure the buoys are good. The only thing we are changing is the lights. We need something to handle the elements a little bit better.”
More than 4,000 lights will decorate the tree.
D’Entremont isn’t sure how many buoys are on the tree, but expects organizers will do a count before they put the tree up this year. All the buoys were donated, with many people writing in memory or in honour of someone on the buoy.
Some people forgot to write on their buoys, said d’Entremont, so this year when the buoy tree comes out of storage and the three sections are down on the ground, anyone who wanted to write on their buoy will have the opportunity to do so before it is erected.
The buoy tree will be lit for the season on Nov. 28, the day before the six-month LFA 34 lobster fishery is scheduled to open. The tree will stay up until early in the new year.
Meanwhile in East Pubnico, a lobster trap Christmas tree will once again be installed in the community, although a final location wasn’t determined as of press time.
The tradition was started last year by the East Pubnico Improvement Committee.
“With COVID-19 and other negative things going on we felt we needed to do something to bring positivity back to our community,” said committee member Angie Owens.
All the traps, buoys and decorations were donated for the tree.
“We had great support, the whole community pitched in, in different ways. From cash donations, to traps, to buoys, brush and volunteers,” said Owen. “The community enjoyed it as well as neighbouring communities.”
This will be the 12th year for the Municipality of Barrington’s lobster pot Christmas tree, which stands on the waterfront in North East Point on Cape Sable Island. The Municipality had initiated a campaign in the fall to get 300 new or like-new traps donated to build the tree, rather than continue using recycled traps from the local landfill, making it larger and more stable.
In Queens County, the fourth annual lobster pot Christmas tree will be lit for the season at the Port Mouton wharf. The lighting of the tree is always a community celebration, said co-organizer Krystie Gatzke. “We have a great turnout every year. The weather hasn’t always cooperated, but everyone still comes.”
Gatzke said they try and leave the tree up until the early spring “because all of the buoys are memorials, it’s nice to leave it there as long as we can.”
The three lobster pot Christmas trees were also lit prior to the start of the lobster season.