Nova Scotia’s lobster fishing season, particularly in the key zones of LFAs 33 and 34, is facing unprecedented challenges. According to Heather Mulock of the Coldwater Lobster Association, catches are down by at least 40-50%, a significant drop from previous years. This decline is particularly impactful, considering these zones are among Canada’s largest fishing areas.
The reasons behind this slump include unusually cold bottom temperatures, which affect lobster movement, and an increase in predatory species like dogfish and cod. Additionally, unauthorized off-season fishing activities have been cited as a contributing factor.
Compounding these issues, the region has been hit by severe weather, leading to fewer trips by harvesters and longer soak times for lobster pots.
Despite the low catch rates, the quality of the lobsters remains high.
Lobster prices at the wharf have reached record highs for December, with fishermen receiving CAD 11.75 per pound. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster, a major lobster exporter, notes that this reflects intense competition for the resource and reduced catches. These high prices are causing pushback in foreign markets, with some processors shutting down for the holiday period and uncertainty about the industry’s direction in the new year.
This season’s challenges highlight the dynamic and often unpredictable nature of the lobster fishing industry in Atlantic Canada.