Lobster Season on Prince Edward Island

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Ah, yes, springtime on PEI.  One of the harbingers of spring that we Islanders most look forward to is the opening of lobster season.

Lobster Fishing in PEI
Setting Day for the Spring Lobster Fishery in Prince Edward Island, Canada

Wharves around the Island are humming with activity as fishers prepare their boats, gear, and lobster traps for the lobster fishing season.

Fishing Shacks
North Rustico, PEI

Some have fished all their lives and some come from generations of fishers before them.

Lobster Traps
Checking on the Lobster Traps

On PEI, there are actually two lobster fishing seasons. The first runs from May till the end of June and the second from August until October.

Many of the wharves on PEI are very picturesque and are an integral part of the local towns and villages like the one in French River seen in the photo below.

Fishing Harbour, PEI
French River, PEI, Canada

In fact, several are located right in the middle of the towns and villages like those in Victoria and North Rustico, for example.

Fishing Boats in Victoria Harbour, PEI
Victoria Harbour, PEI

They tend to draw many tourists each year because they are colorful and there’s always some kind of activity going on, particularly during fishing season.

Fishing Village of North Rustico, PEI
North Rustico, PEI

I find fishing ports interesting subjects to photograph – intriguing subject matter, colorful objects, and a variety of lines, shapes, and colors. Maybe even the fisher’s laundry!

Lobster Fishing
Fisherman’s Laundry

Preparations for Setting Day – the day all the boats leave ports in their boats laden with lobster traps to drop at sea – see shiny boats, new traps, and colorful lines and buoys.

PEI Harbour
New London Harbour, PEI
Buoys
Buoys
Lobster Traps
Lobster Traps

Many Islanders, regardless if they have family members in the fishing industry or not, gather on beaches and wharves before daybreak, around 5:30am or so, to see the lobster fishers off.

Gathering at French River, PEI, to Watch Lobster Boats Head out on Opening Day of the Season

The boats leave the harbours at 6:00am and it is quite a sight to see at sunrise, particularly if it is a large harbour or in an area where boats from more than one harbour gather to go out all together, as is the case in French River where these photos were taken. Dozens of boats parade out to lay the first traps of the season. Of course, mouths are watering, too, for that first bite of lobster, fresh from the cold waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In my opinion, this is the best lobster that is the sweetest, most tender, and it usually has the whitest meat.

Heading out of French River with a Load of Lobster Traps
Heading out of French River with a Load of Lobster Traps

If opening day is on a weekday, the first catch for market will be back on the wharf the following day. However, if opening day falls on a Saturday, the first catch will be hauled in on Monday as PEI fishers, by gentleman’s agreement, don’t fish on Sundays.

Lobster Fishing Boat
Arriving Back at Port with the Day’s Catch, North Lake, PEI
Lobster
Catch of the Day
Steamed Lobster
Fresh Steamed Lobster in the Shell

If you’re a lobster lover, there is nothing better than chowing down on a steamed lobster that is accompanied by homemade potato salad.  It’s a PEI tradition! Lobster is commonly dipped in melted butter and the lobster may be eaten hot or cold.

Lobster Dinner
Lobster Feed, PEI Style!
Lobster
Lobster for Dinner!

Lobster is so popular on PEI, in fact, that some Island restaurants specialize in what are known as “lobster suppers”. These are feasts that include, not only lobster and salads, but all the seafood chowder, steamed mussels, homemade rolls, and desserts you can eat. Best wear clothes with elasticized waistbands for one of these dinners because you won’t go away hungry!  These suppers are hugely popular with tourists because it’s a great way to experience a traditional PEI lobster feed in beautiful rural PEI settings. The two main lobster suppers are both located on the north side of the Island. New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, in operation since 1958, is the longest running lobster supper and is located alongside the River Clyde in beautiful New Glasgow, PEI.  The second lobster supper, Fisherman’s Wharf, is located right in the center of the fishing village of North Rustico. It boasts a 60-foot long salad bar.

The Island has many lighthouses, like the New London Range Rear Lighthouse shown in the photo below, that guide boats safely back to shore.  This lighthouse is sometimes referred to as the Yankee Hill Lighthouse in French River. You can read more about this lighthouse here.

PEI Lighthouse
New London Range Rear Lighthouse

 

 

 

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