During my recent trip to Cape Breton I had the opportunity to go out on a lobster boat several times. The lobster fishing season in this particular area of Cape Breton runs from May 1st to the end of June. Generally, the boat leaves the wharf at 5:00 a.m.!
Above:Lobster boats in Petit De Grat being prepared for the fishing season.
Below: A private wharf in Arichat loaded with lobster traps.
The first day out involves setting all the traps in place. The crew of the boat I was on set 250 traps for the season.
The traps have long ropes and buoys attached allowing the traps to go to the bottom with the buoys marking them for daily retrieval. Each fishing boat has its own unique buoy style. Below: a buoy trailing behind the boat.
This fisherman has been lobster fishing in this area for over 55 years.
The gaff is a long stick with a hook on the end and it’s used for catching the rope and buoy so the traps can be pulled up for emptying each day. The rope then goes into a hydraulic pulley system that raises the heavy trap.
Baiting and banding stations. The strong claws of the lobster are secured with rubber bands otherwise they will grab hold of anything, especially fingers!
A knife wielding lobster.
There are strict rules about the size and condition of lobsters that can be kept. Female lobsters with eggs have to be returned to the sea; as do unhappy looking codfish that accidentally get caught in the traps.
Some seagulls like to hitch a ride on the boat.
When fresh bait is put in the traps, the seagulls, very willingly, take care of the old bait as it is thrown overboard!
A big thank you to the wonderful crew of the Della & Donna!
© Karen McRae, 2012