Lobster fishermen return with first feed of the season

Eric McCarthy
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NORTHPORT -- Fishermen returning to port in Northport after setting their lobster traps and checking a few bunches Thursday were giving mixed messages about catches.

No one had a clear indication of what landings might be like as traps had only been in the water for a few hours.

Darrell Ashley described the catch as light but put that off to water temperature. He said fishermen with temperature gauges in their traps were reporting over the radio that the bottom temperature was four degrees colder than the opening day last year. A colder bottom temperature is typical, he suggested, following nearly two weeks of nor’east wind. He pointed out lobsters don’t move around as much or trap as well when the temperature is really cold.

Boats returned with anywhere from a feed for their families to upwards to 70 pounds to put over the weigh stations’ scales.

“Things are going to have to change an awful lot,” suggested Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association president Craig Avery. “Zero and one lobster to the bunch and two,” he said is what he was hearing from fishermen who checked some of their traps on opening day.

But Leslie Vincent described his first glance at spring lobster as promising. “It looks good for (Friday),” he said, pointing out there were areas where the just-set traps were generating good catches.

While he was disappointed with the first look, Avery is not discouraged. “They’ll be there when the time comes,” he insisted. And while there is still no firm indication of prices, Avery said he has been hearing unofficial reports of $3.75 and $4.00 a pound. That would be a dollar a pound more than what fishermen got at the start of the season last year.

“As long as it’s not just a rumor,” he reflected.

Geographic location: Western Gulf Fishermen

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