HomeIndustrySWNS Lobster Landings Up as Season Winds Down

SWNS Lobster Landings Up as Season Winds Down

There were lots of lobsters coming ashore in southwestern Nova Scotia during May, the last month of the six-month commercial lobster fishery in LFA 33 and 34.

“The catches have come up. The price was a record for a bit but prices have come down quite a bit. I think that’s to be expected. Just about all the districts are open, Eastern Shore, Gaspe, Newfoundland, P.E.I., the Americans are getting ready to start fishing again. There’s a lot of lobsters around,” said Tommy Amirault, president of the Coldwater Lobster Association.

As of May 27, the shore price was $8/pound in southwestern Nova Scotia. The price peaked at $20/pound mid-winter when landings were minimal. The season opened on Nov. 26 in LFA 33 and Dec. 2 in LFA 34 with $10.50 a pound being offered at the wharf.

When the season opened “it looked like it was going to be a really hard season and for some people it was in both 33 and 34. It never really got good in parts of 33 and 34. It really only started to get better later in the winter, it only got ok when the price was high,” said Amirault. “If the price is high that usually means nothing is coming ashore.”

It was late in the season from mid-April on when the water warmed up and the conditions were right that landings started to increase, said Amirault.

“They are right on par with some of the better springs we’ve had,” he said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people. I think they’re breathing a sigh of relief. I think it gives people a little bit of hope that this fall was just that. It was a combination of two or three different circumstances. The water was cold, a late moult, there was some big storms that went through, some big hurricanes that disrupted everything.”

Amirault said there are good signs in the catch that the stock is healthy, with a lot of berried females and juveniles being reported.

“A guy texted me today and said it [juveniles] was the most he’s seen in a long, long time. He would fish in a place there’s not that many there usually. The lobster stocks might not be as healthy as they ever were, but that’s a good sign to see it’s still healthy,” said Amirault.

Meanwhile, a vote by LFA 34 licence holders on whether or not they are in favour of increasing the minimum lobster carapace size to coincide with a new U.S. measure scheduled to come into effect on Jan. 25, 2025, has been put on hold for the time being.

“It sounds like the U.S. has stepped back a little bit. They want to look at the numbers again and they want to make sure their numbers are right. They’re going to step back from it and we’re going to do the same. I think we’re going to wait it out and see what the States does. If they don’t take any action then it’s best for us to not take any action,” said Amirault.

Last fall, it was announced the lobster carapace size would be increasing in U.S. Lobster Conservation Management Area 1 from 82.5 mm to 84 mm. The increase was triggered by a 39 per cent decline in juvenile lobster in recent Gulf of Maine surveys. A second increase scheduled for Jan. 1, 2027, will up the minimum carapace size to 86 mm.

“The U.S. is going to relook at the numbers. There’s been some pushback from (American) fishermen saying they’re not seeing what the survey seen,” said Amirault.

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