Last lobster boats expected to head out to sea today

Wednesday, May 2, 2001

MIRAMICHI. The last ice-bound boats of the North Shore lobster fleet should get to sea this morning. 

The spring season in Lobster Fishing Area 23 – the area from Escuminac to Dalhousie – officially opened on Monday morning but ice prevented about 200 boats, mostly in Miramichi Bay, from getting out of their harbours. 

The captains of about 116 boats from Baie-Ste-Anne, Escuminac and Point Sapin on the south side of the bay agreed to stay ashore on Monday because they worried about a large mass of ice further up in Bay du Vin, particularly that it might move down the bay and destroy lobster gear. 

However, they felt the danger past by Tuesday morning and put to sea and set their traps. The Baie-Ste-Anne Fishermen’s Co-operative freezer and fish plant expects the first day’s catch to arrive this afternoon. 

A spokesman at the Maritime Fishermen’s Union expected the Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft to arrive later Tuesday to break the ice blocking about 74 boats in harbour at Burnt Church and Neguac, including Burnt Church First Nation. That would enable the fishermen to set their traps this morning and bring their first catches ashore on Thursday – although about 10 captains decided to brave the ice and force their way out through on Tuesday. 

Further down the coast, the fleet had an easier time of it with about 500 boats putting to sea from Tabusintac to Dalhousie on Monday. The ice kept 15 to 18 boats in harbour at Inkerman on Monday, but they put to sea on Tuesday.