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Opening days delayed for Canada’s largest and most lucrative lobster fisheries

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The opening days for two of Canada’s largest and most profitable lobster fisheries have been delayed because of bad weather.

The federal Fisheries Department says it is delaying by one day — to Tuesday — the opening of Lobster Fishing Area 33, which extends from Cow Bay in Halifax County south to Port La Tour, in Shelburne County.

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Meanwhile, the department has yet to announce the opening day for Lobster Fishing Area 34, which extends from Shelburne County around to the southwest coast of the province, because Environment Canada is forecasting gale conditions into Tuesday.

Normally, the launch of the season occurs on the last Monday in November for the two fishing areas, but the Fisheries Department changed the rules to allow for delays due to weather and safety issues.

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Representatives from the fishing group in LFA 34 will discuss opening day — referred to as dumping day — with government officials and Environment Canada forecasters on Wednesday at 7 a.m. to determine when it’s safe to head out.

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DFO pulls about 500 lobster traps from St. Mary’s Bay

The department says opening day is automatically delayed if the forecast calls for winds in excess of 48 kilometres per hour.

In a release last Friday, the provincial fisheries minister said boats are heavily loaded with traps and gear, and safety needs to be the prime consideration.

“Boarding boats in the cold and dark, at the mercy of the weather and the sea, makes fishing dangerous work. Safety is a crucial priority,” Steve Craig said.

“One tragedy is one too many, so we urge fishing captains and crews to make sure they follow their safety training and take every precaution so they are able to come home safely to their loved ones.”

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

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