Lobster Fishing in Nova Scotia
The lobster grounds off of southwestern Nova Scotia are among the richest in the world, so it’s only fitting that Shelburne County is home to the Lobster Capital of Canada. Our lobster season, for Districts 33 and 34 run from the last Monday in November, called Dumping Day, to the last day in May.
The lobster fisheries have been the economic backbone for all of our communities in Shelburne County for centuries, dating back to the mid 1800’s. Shelburne County celebrates the ending of the Lobster season each year with a Lobster Festival the first full weekend in June.
Savour freshly prepared lobster delights in many of our restaurants in the County, from right out of the shell to our traditional creamed lobster or try our new spin on lobster with lobster poutine! Whichever you choose, we are sure you will be back for more!
The Famous Cape Islander
The famous Cape Islander was designed and built on Cape Sable Island in 1907. It is a very familiar sight along the coast of Nova Scotia. The fishing boat has been modified from its original design over the years to adapt to the present day requirements of the fisherman, but the hull of the boat has remained basically the same. The Cape Islander plays a prominent role in the lobster and fishing industry, not only in Shelburne County, but in Nova Scotia and beyond. Stroll our many wharves, see the boats and talk with our fishermen and learn about life on the ocean first hand.
(also commonly referred to as Lobster Pots)
Traditionally, lobster traps were made of a wooden frame surrounded by a rope mesh but today you will find the majority of lobstermen use rectangle wire cages, which have woven mesh entrances. The traps capture lobsters live by attracting them through the mesh entrances into the centre of the trap where the bait is located. All the traps are equipped with an escape hatch, which allow for small lobsters and other sea life to escape.
There are conservatory measures in place with limits set for licenses available, number and size of traps, season, and lobster size and all female egg bearing lobsters must be returned to the ocean. It takes 7 years for a lobster to reach market size.
How Lobsters are Caught
Lobster traps are attached to lines and marked by buoys which float on the surface of the ocean water. Traps are submerged on the seafloor, where they will set (normally for a 24 hour period) to catch lobster. Fishermen check their traps regularly to haul in their catch. On board the boat, lobsters are measured and graded to ensure correct sizes and regulations are met.
Lobsters are then banded around the claws with a small rubber band, to ensure safety to the fishermen and to the other lobsters. Lobsters are stored in crates.
At the wharf, the lobsters are sold and taken to a local buying facility to be shipped around the world. In some cases, fishermen will store their catch in “cars” – floating structures which hold lobster crates in compartments – you will notice these in the water at many of the wharves in the County. Fishermen will often hold their catch in hopes of getting a better market price during the season.
Download the Shelburne County Lobster Tales and Lighthouse Trail Brochure Here