Setting day conditions worst ever seen, says fishermen

Eric McCarthy
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Joshua Clements digs into a bait box as he helps his father, David, get traps ready for a second load on setting day morning Friday at Howard’s Cove in western Prince Edward Island.

P.E.I. fishermen say Fisheries and Oceans should have delayed setting day until Monday

CAPE WOLFE - Back in port safe and sound Friday afternoon, Tignish fisherman Danny Arsenault had a simple assessment of lobster setting day 2014.

“It didn’t make any sense to do this at all.”

Some boats cut back on their loads and made an extra trip to get their gear all set.

Arsenault said he was one of the fishermen on a conference call Thursday pleading to have the fall season delayed until Monday. Also on the call were port representatives from harbours all around Lobster Fishing Area 25 in P.E.I. and New Brunswick and Department of Fisheries and Oceans officials.

He said representatives from northern ports in both provinces stressed during the call that their region would take the brunt of the wind, which was expected to blow through the district on setting day.

As it turns out, the wind did blow, about 31 knots at North Cape around noon time Friday, and fishermen had to contend with rough seas.

Arsenault said he heard reports of fishermen losing traps as they rounded North Cape and also in the Skinners Pond area.

Howard’s Cove fisherman Shelton Barlow said there are four boats in his port who still have gear on board to set. He described conditions as the worst he’s ever faced on setting day and lamented the decision to leave setting day on Friday was based, in part on an Environment Canada forecast for wind much lighter than what the Northumberland Strait encountered.

“They made a bad call on this one, and they know it,” Arsenault said of DFO’s ultimate decision to leave setting day as scheduled.

He acknowledged that several southern ports in both provinces indicated during the call that they wanted to set Friday, but he insisted some of the fishermen on the call represented just a few boats. He insisted there are more fishermen in the northern part of the district than in the south.

While fishermen would normally fish at least some of their gear on setting day, Arsenault said most were content just to get the traps set this year.

“It was a bad day,” he said.

Organizations: P.E.I. and New Brunswick and Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, North Cape, Lobster Fishing Area Skinners Pond

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Recent comments

    August 10, 2014 - 14:21

    If some fishers go ALL must go to get the spots they like to fish before someone else takes it .First come, first spot for the season , hence some of the big engines fishers use that they also get flak for . Once all the gear is set it is difficult to get a single trawl in let alone a boatload .Most fishers would prefer a delay , no one wants to be on the water in dangerous conditions especially in a loaded boat where you cant see your helpers at the back of boat .Safety must always win out over greed or poor judgement . If you don't understand anything about fishing its probably best not to show your ignorance by posting comments . Stick to your TVs and coloring books .

  • lloyd
    August 10, 2014 - 10:51

    Maybe if you did,nt feel safe don,t set your traps. Are all the lobster going to be gone on Monday? Stop with the whining. People are sick and tired listening to you fishermen.

  • Take a little responsibility
    August 09, 2014 - 16:12

    anyone that wanted to stay on shore could have, why is it some one else's fault when people cannot exercise judgement for themselves, why didn't the ports that had safe travel go and the others wait, if the roads in one area of the province are snow covered but else where it is fine do we close the whole place down?

  • rob
    August 09, 2014 - 11:39

    lord tundering!!! what can i complaine about today? oh i know, how about the day of the week!! your so called profession is turning in to a big joke!!

    • Northsiders
      August 10, 2014 - 17:13

      Well first of all losing a day at the first is a big deal esp on the south side where the first couple weeks mean so much. And further more not all of us are whiners and a lot of the time there is so much at stake for some people it's hard not to express your emotions. I do admire the fact. In how the only way a few of yas feel tough or important is to mouth off while using your keyboards. Be a man and drop out to any of the wharfs across the island and express yourselves But we all know that wouldn't happen. You should learn not to judge everyone over a few. Good luck to all the boys on the south side during your season. Good fishing and be safe. All the best. Your northside friend.