Spring lobster fishery closes Monday

Eric McCarthy newsroom@journalpioneer.com
Published on June 26, 2014
Cory Gallant is ready to offload a bunch of fished traps.

ALBERTON -- It’s getting down to the wire for spring lobster fishermen.
Western P.E.I. fishermen will need to have all their gear out of the water by Monday night. 

Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association, Craig Avery said he anticipates most fishermen will land some gear on Saturday and finish the job on Monday. He indicated there has already been a small bit of gear landed.

If it hadn’t been for ice conditions in late April, the season would have been ending on Saturday instead of Monday. The WGFA had proposed the spring season start on the last Monday in April and end on the last Saturday of June, but that the season revert back to the traditional dates if ice became a factor.

“I think it would work better,” Avery said of a season that would start on a Monday and end on a Saturday.

Catches started off poor this year but started to climb in late May. Avery estimates landings are still about 20 per cent behind the same point last year. He suggested the limits buyers placed on boats when catches peaked have had a marginal impact on landings.

Northport fisherman Allen Adams hasn’t decided whether he will land some gear on Saturday or leave it all until Monday. He admitted it’s tempting to wait until Monday because he had a good catch this past Monday.

Ordinarily, he said, it would make sense to end a season on a Saturday rather than extend the fishing expenses into another work week.

In Tignish, catches are such that Gary McRae is confident most fishermen will keep all their gear out until the last day.

While the price is still not where fishermen say it needs to be, at $3.75 a pound for canners and $4.25 for markets prior to a 25-cent drop two weeks ago, the value of the catch is still slightly ahead of last year when fishermen received $2.75 a pound for canners and $3.25 a pound for markets.

While Adams suggests catches in June have been as good as, or better than, normal, he said he won’t be able to make up for the slow start in May brought on by cold water temperature.