Island lobster catches heavy, buyers say

Staff ~ The Guardian
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WEST POINT - Prince Edward Island’s fall lobster fishermen appear to be off to a good start.

Brian Matthews guides a load of lobster pans out of a boat at West Point on Monday. The fall season opened Friday and is said to be off to a good start. There’s no word yet on price, though.

A spokesman for one company that buys from several western Prince County ports indicated Saturday’s first full-day landings were actually up over last year.

“Catches are fairly heavy,” said the buyer who did not wish to be identified.

Fishermen only set their traps on Friday and, while some did go over all of their gear later that day, Saturday’s landings were considered the first real comparison, and the comparison was said to be favourable.

Still unknown, though, is price.

Robert Arsenault, who buys from three fall ports, confessed he hadn’t even looked at the landing sheets yet, but indicated he has been hearing a wide range of rumours from fishermen, some saying their initial catches are up and others are saying they are down.

Terry MacLean was running the winch at West Point while crew members offloaded the first portion of his day’s catch from Cheryl & Terry early Monday afternoon.

He described the early catches as “a decent start,” but pointed out, “it’s a long season yet.”

Like most boats, MacLean reported to port after fishing about half of his gear.

That, he said, is meant to help maintain quality by getting product out of the boats and into plants as quickly as possible.

As for the quality, MacLean is encouraged.

“The other day I took a feed home and they were real good and hard,” he reported. “Hopefully that (quality) helps the price.”

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