Glossary of Terms
Terminology varies from region to region. These are some of the terms used in the Northumberland Strait region of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Some of the terms have been taken from the Buyer’s Guide
for Canadian Atlantic Lobster, distributed by the Department of Fisheries and
Berried female - also called a spawning female, a female carrying eggs
Bug - slang for lobster
Buoy - (pronounced bü-ē) a rounded cork shaped object that is usually made of styrofoam that can float. Buoys are tied with rope to traps to mark where they are in the water. Each fisherman has a particular colour scheme for their buoys so that they can distinguish whose is whose.
Brine - salt water
Canners - small lobsters, weighing 175 to 450 kg
(approximately ½ to 1lb)
Carapace - hard shell covering the lobster’s cephalothorax
Cephalothorax - the fused segments of the head and thorax
Cull - a lobster with one or no claws.
Normally sold at a lower price
Districts - regions in Atlantic Canada where lobster fishing
is open at specific times of the year (seasons). The division into districts
allows control of the harvest, insuring the highest quality.
Deck-hand - also called a fishermen’s helper or hired hand. A person responsible for emptying traps, baiting, stacking and dropping traps and cleaning up. Basically a person who does everything but pilot the boat and haul the traps.
Gaff - a long, straight, wooden pole with a hook on the end that is used to catch buoys.
Hard shell - a lobster whose shell has fully hardened after
molting. Hard-shelled lobsters
yield 50-60 % more meat than soft-shelled or shedders.
Hauler - an electronic device that is located at the stern of the boat and hauls traps out of the water.
LFA - lobster fishing area
Live-tank - a box-like structure where the live lobsters are
placed on board. Usually located in
the middle of the deck. Ocean water is pumped in to the tank.
Markets - a size category for lobsters weighing 450kg to 1.5 kg (1 to 3 lbs).
Metal gauge - a device used to measure the carapace of a lobster. It is placed at the eye socket and measures down the middle. If the carapace of the lobster does not fit between the jaws of the device then the lobster is not of legal size.
Molt - when a lobster sheds its shell so that it can grow
Pound - a storage area for holding live lobster
Roe - unfertilized egg mass of a female. It is bright red
Seasons - specific periods in the year when a particular
area or region can be fished
Shedders - lobster in the molt or soft-shell stage of growth
Tomalley - green-cloured liver of a lobster
Trap - a wooden or wire cage that is baited and used to catch lobster.
Trawl - a string of traps connected by a line with two buoys marking each end. Traps are tied along the line. Three, five, seven and ten-trap trawls are common in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Tray - also called a ‘tote’, a plastic bin that holds bait, lobster, or anything on the boat that needs stowing.
V-notch - a small v shape cut in the second left flipper to
mark breeding females. V-notched
females, if found, must be thrown back; regardless of whether they are carrying
eggs at the time or not.
Washboard - the rail of the boat where the traps are laid
after being hauled.
Wharf - the docks where the boats are moored.