Newfoundland's South Coast — Lobster Fishing Area 11
Fish harvesters use wooden and wire traps submerged on the seafloor to catch lobster. Traps are attached to lines and marked by floats on the surface. The traps attract lobster with bait and capture them live. From small, open boats, fish harvesters check their traps regularly to haul in their catch. This traditional fishing method has little impact on the seafloor and traps minimal bycatch or unwanted fish.
Lobster traps consist of a rectangular wooden or wire frame covered with nylon netting. The traps capture lobster live by attracting them through an entrance to the centre of the trap where the bait is located. As more lobsters enter the trap, the others move into a side “parlour.” Once inside the holding parlour, the larger lobsters are unable to escape. All traps have an escape hatch to allow small lobster, crabs and fish to get out.
Lobster harvesters attach one or more traps on a line and set them on the ocean floor, typically close to shore at depths less than 65 feet (20 metres). Lobster harvester go out in small open boats ranging from 18 to 27 feet (5.5 to 8 metres) and each is limited to 185 traps. There are 318 licensed vessels in this lobster fishing area.
The lobster fishery is managed by effort control, which involves limits to the number of traps and fishing days. A number of measures address conservation in the fishery. These include:
In this lobster fishing area, fish harvesters actively participate in scientific data collection and research such as:
Ocean Wise - Not Recommended
SeaChoice - Some Concerns
Apr 20 - Jun 30
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans manages this fishery under an integrated fishery management plan for Lobster Fishing Areas 3 to 14C in Newfoundland.
For the most recent lobster stock status, check the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s science advisory reports.
Local lobster harvesters pride themselves on harvesting cold-water lobsters with a hard shell. Proper handling is paramount for lobster quality and health. Once landed aboard, lobsters are graded and undersized catch and egg-bearing females are returned to the ocean. Rubber bands are fastened around lobster claws for safety and quality. They are then placed in crates. At the dock, the lobsters are sold and usually taken to a local buying facility where they are held before being shipped live to the local market or out of province for export or processing. Some lobsters are processed, either by cooking or freezing raw.
Local buyers and exporters also keep lobsters in a variety of storage facilities, including tidal pounds and tank houses. The best facilities try to mimic the natural hibernating conditions of lobster. They are individually separated into plastic tubes or trays, and placed in fresh, cold seawater to replicate their solitary existence on the seafloor. Proper facilities closely monitor oxygen levels, temperature and salinity of the seawater. Under good conditions, lobsters can maintain their top quality for several months.
Lobster Fishing Area 11 consists of Fortune Bay extending along the south shore of Newfoundland about 15 miles (25 km) west of the village of Burgeo. The fishery takes place in the spring and mostly in shallow waters usually within 9 miles (15 km) of shore. The fishery is one of the main employers in the region and the lifeblood of many small fishing villages and remote outports only accessible by boat.