The commercial lobster season on Nova Scotia’s south shore, which can bring in more than 50 per cent of Canada’s lobster, is underway.
Dozens of boats raced from the docks of West Dover, N.S., at 7:30 a.m. AT on Tuesday to take part in dumping day, the first day where fishermen are allowed to dump their traps into the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s the traditional start of the lobster season in the lucrative regions along Nova Scotia’s southern and western shores, commonly known as Lobster Fishing Areas (LFA) 33 and 34.
One boat even fired off celebratory fireworks as vessels raced towards the rising sun on the horizon.
Canada’s department of fisheries and oceans told Global News that during the 2018-19 season, fishermen in the region landed 28,753 tonnes of lobster worth approximately $513 million.
That’s roughly 57 per cent of the lobsters caught in Canada during that season.
DYK: Last season LFAs 33 & 34 recorded landings of 28,753 tonnes for an approximate landed value of $513 million – that’s 57% of total Canadian landings of lobster. pic.twitter.com/tLU1cxjaqM
— DFO Maritimes (@DFO_MAR) November 26, 2019
Approximately 1,500 vessels and more than 4,000 fishermen take part in the region’s lobster fishing.
Clifton Morash, a captain of one of the boats, told Global News that his priority this year was to have a “good, safe season.”
At start of season, lobster boat captain Clifton Morash, West Dover NS, on his priorities: “A good, safe season.” pic.twitter.com/G2xwTpEJ20
— Ross Lord (@rlordglobal) November 26, 2019
On Tuesday morning, they weren’t the only ones out on the water.
Kevin Crewe, acting regional supervisor for Maritime search and rescue at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, told Global News on Monday that his organization would be keeping a close eye on the region.
Crewe said the Canadian Coast Guard will have a number of vessels in the area, with the CCGS Spray, CCGS Clarks Harbour, CCGS Westport and CCGS Sambro on the water Tuesday morning.
There will also be a number of other vessels in the area lending a hand.
The Royal Canadian Air Force will also have a C-130 Hercules aircraft on patrol and a Cormorant helicopter on standby to assist if needed, Crewe said.
Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, the Nova Scotia MP for South Shore-St. Margaret’s, was at the wharf in Volgers Cove, N.S., to see the boats off at dawn.
“We wish them a safe season and good prices when they come back in,” she said in a YouTube video. “I also want to say thank you to the Canadian Coast Guard, who are out there on the water today looking after our fishers. This is a really important job.”
With files from Ross Lord and The Canadian Press