Nova Scotia’s 2016 lobster season

The Ritcey Report

Written by Lynn Healy-Goulet
November 8, 2016

In a recent article by Darren Campbell for The Globe and Mail ROB, published on August 6, 2016, the writer offered the following example:

“When 50-year-old lobster fisherman Albert Sampson wrapped up the season a few weeks ago, he was pretty pleased with the results. During an intense two- month season working 12- to 14-hour days, six days a week, in the high winds off the southeast coast of Cape Breton Island, he and his crew of two deckhands brought in $500,000-worth of lobster. Mr. Sampson got an average price of $8 a pound for his catch, after averaging just $5.75 to $6 a pound last year.”

Mr. Sampson, as Campbell reports, is just one of thousands of lobster fishermen across Atlantic Canada who have benefited from high lobster prices this year. In a region where jobs can be hard to come by, the increase in lobster prices and lobster catches is welcome news.

Bernie Berry, captain of the lobster boat Ready To Go and president of the Coldwater Lobster Association, said it’s too soon to calculate official landing numbers, though he estimates that this season has been the best in a decade.
Good weather, thriving lobster populations, low diesel prices, the low Canadian dollar and strong demand in international markets – particularly Asia – all contributed to the exceptional season.

It’s worth noting that a strong lobster fishery has a ripple effect on other Nova Scotia industries, such as boat building. Said Berry: “Boat building has really sprung to life because of the added money being brought in and people looking to upgrade their boats. Some boat shops around here have orders for at least the next four years.”

As we know, for many of the rural communities in southwest Nova Scotia lobster is the life-blood and driver of the local economy. This fabulous season means that fishermen will be able to buy more gear and better-quality gear in preparation for the season ahead.

According to Berry, fishermen in the two lobster fishing areas that make up southwest Nova Scotia – from Halifax down the South Shore to Digby Neck –landed a whopping 75 million pounds of lobster this season.

The 2015-2016 season is “one of the best, if not the best” in the past 10 years, Berry said. He added, reflectively: “It’s been a long time coming.”