North Shore fishermen, however, say it could be better
Barrachois lobster fisherman Stanley Reid shows one of his largest catches of the day after returning to his home port. He said fishermen are continuing to see a number of undersized lobsters in their traps that are being thrown back, a good sign for the future. SHERRY MARTELL - TRURO DAILY NEWS
BARRACHOIS - Fishermen in Barrachois are seeing slight improvements to their catches this year along with positive signs for the future.
Barrachois fisherman Stanley Reid is one of nine that work from the only remaining commercial wharf in northern Colchester County.
"It's better than last year," he said, while sliding a plastic crate loaded with the day's haul to the stern for unloading.
Reid said it is possible the lack of severe winter weather may be contributing to the marginal improvements from last season.
"It's picked up a bit the last few weeks," he said. "It's been a better spring."
He estimates his catches have been between 150 to 200 pounds, far from where he would like them to be compared to past years, however, they are showing improvement.
In the mid-1980s to early 1990s, fishermen in Barrachois were landing about 600 pounds per day. The number of traps per licence has gradually been decreased with fishermen now using 280.
"They are on their way," said Reid, summing up the season. "It's going in the right direction."
He said while catches are better, expenses for fuel, bait and wages for a hired hand continue to climb, while prices remain low.
"It's enough for me but I can't hire somebody and pay a fair wage," said Reid.
Dwayne Joudrie also fishes from the Barrachois wharf. He said this year is "much better" than the previous season.
"It's not perfect by any means but there's motivation to go each day," said Joudrie. "It's too hard to fish with negativity so you have to have a positive attitude."
Fisherman Alan Elliott said he is seeing a few more smaller sized, young lobsters showing up in his traps to be tossed back and feels that is a good sign for the future.
However, it is frustrating to see fishermen in other areas earning more for their catches.
"We've been getting $4.75 straigt through, but that might change," said Elliott. "Other places in the province are getting more. It's the same lobster."
Last season fishermen were looking for great improvements with more than 2,000 traps eliminated from the fishery through a federal license buy-back program, however, catches remained low.
"There should have been a little rebound in a 10 year cycle but it hasn't happened yet," Elliott said.
The season in lobster fishing area 26 A in the Northumberland Strait from Havre Boucher to Pugwash will close June 30.