EDWARD MCCAREY MCDONNELL: Ringing of the bells
I am very pleased to learn that the bells of St Dunstan's Basilica will be returned to their rightful place in time for Canada Day.
When it’s spring, lobster is king. It’s one of Prince Edward Island’s unofficial mottos and it’s richly deserved. The lobster industry is a key part of our Island culture.
Never mind that early summer is finally upon us, because our primary connection with ‘homarus americanus’ comes in early May. Few things are as eagerly anticipated as that first feed of tasty, succulent and nutritious spring P.E.I. lobster.
When we hear some of our fellow Islanders defiantly admit that they don’t like lobster, we try our best to look shocked or surprised. Then we quickly commiserate with the poor, deprived souls. “Really, that’s too bad.” Tsk tsk.
But all the while, we are winking and nudging behind their backs, because it means that is there is more lobster for the rest of us shellfish aficionados. “Oh, excuse me, I didn’t mean to squirt juice all over you,” as the non-lobster lover flees the table, giving us more elbowroom to crack into those bright red crustaceans.
The 2017 spring season comes to an abbreviated conclusion Thursday and for the most part it was quiet among the ports where approximately 1,000 boats carrying thousands of licence holders, helpers and hired hands worked hard for the past eight weeks along our northern and eastern shores.
There was little complaint about price – unless you were a consumer - because shore prices to fishermen were strong. There was a little more concern about landings, but after a slow start during a cold, damp May, things picked up as the weather improved.
There were more than a few nasty, windy days but fishermen expect them and take precautions. There were complaints about a carapace size increase, but in the long term, it will prove beneficial - as it has in the past.
The lobster levy, supporting enhanced marketing and promotion, is paying lucrative dividends, especially in new Asian markets.
As the season entered its last weekend, various partners and supporters came together for an inaugural festival. It’s an event that was long overdue, especially for the eastern part of the Island.
The P.E.I. Lobster Festival was staged at the Souris lighthouse last Saturday. Its aim was to place the focus on P.E.I. lobster, draw more visitors to the province during a shoulder season, and offer authentic culinary experiences. It complements the rebranded Summerside Lobster Festival in mid-July and sets the table for the popular P.E.I. Shellfish Festival in September and later Fall Flavours.
By all accounts, the Souris event was a great success, showcasing the lobster fishery and the people who work in the industry. It celebrated the hard work of fishermen, buyers, plant works and shippers. It was a festival well deserved and well done.
Perhaps only one culinary delight comes close to that first feed of spring lobster - the season’s first new potatoes dug from our rich, red soil.
And, come to think of it, that shouldn’t be too far off. Yum.