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Canada’s largest commercial lobster season kicks off Tuesday with Nova Scotia’s dumping day

Fishing boats loaded with lobster traps head from Eastern Passage, N.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012.
Fishing boats loaded with lobster traps head from Eastern Passage, N.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

The largest commercial lobster season in Canada is set to kick off on Tuesday as Nova Scotia’s dumping day gets underway.

The federal department of fisheries and oceans (DFO) has had a deal with the industry that dictates any winds above 25 knots will automatically trigger a postponement of the opening day of the season.

Poor weather had pushed the planned start of the season from Monday to Tuesday for fishermen along Nova Scotia’s southern and western shores, commonly known as Lobster Fishing Areas (LFA) 33 and 34.

The DFO told Global News that during the 2018-2019 season, fishermen in the region landed 28,753 tonnes of lobster worth approximately $513 million.

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The provincial government has issued a reminder to fishing crews to make safety a priority this year.

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“The fishing industry brings great value to our province as one of our largest exports, but it remains a dangerous profession,” said Labi Kousoulis, minister of labour and advanced education.

“I want to thank all fishing crews for their efforts. As safety is top priority, I ask them to take the necessary precautions to get home safe.”

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Occupational health and safety laws require fishing crews to wear a life-jacket or other personal floatation device while working onboard a commercial vessel.

“Many Nova Scotians have lost their lives to drownings in the fishing industry in recent years — a sombre reminder of the dangers that still exist in this industry,” Stuart MacLean, CEO of the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, said in a press release.

“So as another lobster season begins, I encourage all crews to make safety a priority. Only do something if you can do it safely.”

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Lobster fishing boat capsizes on Dumping Day
Lobster fishing boat capsizes on Dumping Day

Kevin Crewe, acting region supervisor for Maritime Search and Rescue at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Halifax, said that they are well prepared for the opening day of the season.

Crewe said that the Canadian Coast Guard will have a number of vessels on scene, with CCGS Spray, CCGS Clarks Harbour, CCGS Westport and CCGS Sambro on station tomorrow morning.

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There will be a number of other vessels in the area lending a hand.

Crewe said that 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.

During the 2018-2019 season roughly 1,500 vessels and 4,100 vessel captains and crew participated in the region’s lobster fishery.