Fishing in the Maritimes has provided many families, communities and industries with income and identity. Lobster trapping is one of the richest and most respected industries throughout the Maritimes. Lobsters, which are also referred to as "bugs" are culturally shared and harvested two seasons throughout the year. The two lobster seasons occur in the spring, (May 1) and also the winter (November 29), lasting for approximately six months.
Nova Scotia has some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. Fishing districts 33 and 34, off the southshore, are known throughout the fishing industry as the wealthiest for harvesting lobster. Last year district 34, which contains 1,700 license holders, generated $222 million dollars in lobster revenue. Not only are the lobsters within this district a hot commodity, but also the fishing licenses carry a great deal of value. Fishing licenses in these districts are worth millions of dollars and are primarily kept in the family throughout generations.
The lobster industry is closely watched in order to maintain and regulate the economy. Fishery officers are constantly at the wharfs checking to make sure fishermen have met the outlined requirements. Landing lobsters below a minimum size or females that are egg bearing is considered illegal. Also regulations pertaining to number of traps set, timing and lines pulled are closely watched.
Although this is an extremely dangerous job, many people across the world, especially in Halifax, enjoy the end product. Fishermen tend to be spotted on the side of the road with their large tanks selling lobster for $5.00 a pound because retail value can be down at times. In the off seasons, many fishermen enjoy six months off repairing traps and preparing for the upcoming season.
Next time you are cracking into a lobster claw, think about the dangerous life of a fishermen and how lucky you are to have the Maritimes close by.