Spring lobster season

Canadian Press
Tuesday, May 1, 2001

MONCTON – Hundreds of lobster fishing boats across northeastern New Brunswick set out early Sunday morning for the start of the annual spring lobster fishing season. 

About 700 non-native and about 17 native fishermen are licensed to fish lobster commercially in area 23. The area takes in the coastline from the Pointe-Sapin and Escuminac area north to the Bay of Chaleur and Dalhousie and Campbellton sector in New Brunswick. 

Fishermen in the Little Shippagan area have been coping with poor catches in the last few seasons and fear another bad year, while Miramichi Bay lobster fishermen wonder if there will be an abundance of lobster after out-of-season catches last year, said Maritime Fishermen’s Union spokesman Mike Belliveau. 

“They are crossing their fingers” hoping the lobster will be there, he said. 

There is no explanation for why catches dropped on the Acadian peninsula. As for Miramichi Bay, years of out-of-season fishing by the native food fishery have non-native fishermen worried. 

According to fishermen, an estimated 300,000 pounds of lobster were fished from Miramichi Bay waters last fall by native fishermen as part of a food fishery for the Burnt Church native community. 

The fishery was the scene of violence and disruption mainly between native members and federal Fisheries Department officers trying to stop the native fishery. 

Last year, lobster fishermen were paid approximately $4.50 and $5.50 a pound for canner-size and market-size lobsters respectively. They hope to get as much or more this year if prices paid for lobster catches off the southern Nova Scotia coast earlier this month are any indication, said Belliveau. 

The market variety was $11 to $11.50 a pound due to a limited fishery.