Thursday conference call to decide lobster opening date

Eric McCarthy
Published on August 6, 2014

ALBERTON -- Fall lobster fishermen will learn early Thursday morning whether they will get setting their gear Friday morning or waiting until Monday.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans facilitated a Wednesday morning conference call with Lobster Fishing Area 25 port representatives in New Brunswick and P.E.I. to discuss whether to open the season as scheduled or delay until Monday.

Instead of making a decision Wednesday, fishermen agreed to participate in another conference call Thursday at 8 a.m. and make a decision then based on the latest forecast.Of concern is a forecast of wind in the 15 to 20 knots range for Friday.

Prince County Fishermen’s Association president, Lee Knox, who was on the call, estimated fishermen were split pretty well 50-50 on whether they should go as scheduled or delay. He suggested sentiments were similar on both sides of the Northumberland Strait.

If they were sure the wind would only be 15 to 20 knots, Knox suggested most fishermen would be comfortable going, but if the winds go much over 20 knots that becomes a concern.

As well, the low tide arrives Friday around the time boats would be heading out with their second load and it could be problematic getting out of some of P.E.I.’s ports, he acknowledged.

Knox said a decision then should still give fishermen time to get ready for a Friday opening, if necessary. While most fishermen already have their gear piled and ready on the wharves, Knox said most captains don’t load their boats until the day before the season opens. He said a New Brunswick fisherman on Wednesday’s conference call reported some boats are already loaded.