They are officially allowed to go out at seven o'clock, and we could hear the motors humming down the western harbour about then. It must be quite the traffic challenge to launch so many boats all at the same time, filled with traps and gear and crew, off the wharves at Gunning Cove and Fort Point. And this same scene is being repeated at every wharf in southwestern Nova Scotia.
Lobster Fishing Area 33 begins just east of Halifax, and Shelburne is at its western end. LFA 34 -- the big kahuna -- begins to the west of Shelburne Harbour and runs all the way around the southern tip of Nova Scotia and up to Digby. Together, these two LFAs pull in more than sixty per cent of all the lobster taken in Nova Scotia. In 2007 that was just under 16,000 tonnes, worth over $218 million, according to the Department of Fisheries.
This morning the lobster boats will dump their traps. A license allows for 250 traps, which are stacked high on the decks of the boats as they go out to sea. By late morning the boats will be returning to the wharves. Then, as early as 12:01 a.m. on December 1st, they will go out again to begin hauling their traps. They will get most of the season's catch in the first week or two.
There are about 1,700 license holders in LFA 33 and 34, and we waved at fifteen or sixteen of them steaming off, their lights moving through the darkness, their colours emerging as the day lightened. Randy blew his horn in greeting. I always feel honoured when Randy blows his horn.
The weather forecast was calling for wind today. But the day dawned mild and clear and still. As good a morning as you could hope for.