Ronnie Heighton, president of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Union, said it was banner year for the majority of fishermen mainly due to a good combination of Mother Nature and conservation.
“Personally, this is my best year in 30 years,” said Heighton.
He said this year’s weather was cool and windy in fishing area 26A, but he suspects it kept the waters cooler over the last two months somewhat slowing catches. This allowed for a more blended season rather than glut of fish all at once.
This combined with a good price selling their lobsters made the season a memorable one. Buyers were purchasing lobsters for $6 and $7 a pound, with only a drop of 50 cents throughout the entire two months.
That compares well with 2013, when fishermen threatened to strike over low lobster prices that ranged from $3.75 to $4 a pound.
Conservation also plays a big role in sustaining the local fishery, he said. Ideally, the Northumberland Fishermen’s Union would like to see the size of catchable lobsters increased, but that is not met with approval from other fishing areas.
New Brunswick lobster fishermen were pleased with an increase by five millimetres in 2016 for Lobster Fishing Area 25, which covers parts of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
However, the size increase upset Prince Edward Island fishermen in that area who say it will not benefit the industry but instead give consumers less choice and more lobster competing in certain size categories for price.
Heighton said NFA will continue to lobby for size increase in Area 26A because it will go a long way to sustaining the industry.
“We have been trying to get the size up for a year for the canners,” he said. “It will leave more little ones on the bottom.”