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A Day-in-the-Life Snapshot of the Industry:
A Photo Album of the Lobster Fishing Process

On the Boat

On June 2, 2000 I set out for my adventure on board the Laura Dawn No.1, a 42 ft fishing boat captained by Ronald Langille of Melville, Pictou County, Nova Scotia.  Ronnie fishes for lobster in the Northumberland Strait, the body of water separating Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.  His boat is moored along with 11 others, at Skinnerís Cove, a busy fishing port located in Melville, a small community just outside the village of River John.  

Fishing Boat
Fishing Boat Laura Dawn No. 1at Skinner's Cove




June 2 turned out to be a sunny, calm day on the water. I watched a beautiful sunrise and busied myself taking pictures, enjoying the salt air.  A week later, June 9, I decided to head out again and prepared myself for another warm and sunny day. However, to my surprise the sun did not shine and the seas were not calm! After this trip I really felt I had experienced a day of lobster fishing! The pictures gathered to tell my story are a combination of both these trips. Taken together these trips present a view of a day in the life of a lobster fishermen.  

5:00 a.m. Heading Out to Sea
Approximately 5:00 am.  Heading out to sea:  A boat ahead of us departs the wharf at Skinnerís Cove.

Preparing Bait
Before we leave the wharf the bait is prepared: The captain cuts the bait (which today is mackerel) while his deck-hand puts it in the bag and twists it closed. The sun has not yet risen.

Tray Holding Bait
A plastic bin called a tray holds the bait that is ready to be bagged.  Typical bait commonly used for lobster fishing is mackerel, flounder, herring, gaspereaux and rock crab.

Dawn on the Water
Shortly after 5:00 am.  Dawn is breaking: With the clear skies and the calm water it looks like weíre in for a nice day.  

Deck Hand

The deck-hand uses a long pole with a hook on the end of it, called a gaff, to catch the buoy.  The captain is in the cabin manning the wheel. 



Grabbing the Line
Grabbing the line:  The deck hand has successfully hooked the buoy, and the captain has come out to grab the line.

The Hauler
The hauler: After grabbing the line the captain uses the electronic hauler to pull the traps out of the water.

Wooden trap being pulled from the water
A wooden trap is being pulled out of the water by the hauler. 

Captain pulls a wire trap over the side
The captain pulls a wire trap over the side and onto the washboard.

Captain surveys the catch
The captain surveys his catch.  

Re-baiting the traps
Both the captain and the 
deckhand re-bait the traps 
after they are hauled. 

Sun rising as deckhand re-baits trap
The sun is rising as the deckhand re-baits a trap.  

Using metal gauge to measure lobster
The captain uses a metal gauge to measure the carapace of the lobster to see if it is of legal size.  If it is, itís placed in the tray to be banded and if itís not, itís thrown back in to the ocean.

Placing rubber bands on lobster claws
The deck-hand uses a steel device to place elastic rubber bands around the lobsterís claws.


Five-trap trawl sitting on the washboard
A five-trap trawl sitting on the washboard:  These traps have been re-baited, and the lobsters removed.  Soon they will be pushed overboard.


Deck hand ready to push trap overboard
The deck-hand gets ready to push a trap over in to the ocean.


Live market ready to be banded
A large market waits in a tray to be banded.

Deck hand shows off a big catch
The deck-hand shows off a big catch.

Tray full of canners
Near the end of the day:  A tray full of canners sitting in the live tank.

Tray of rock crabs
A tray of rock crabs: Theyíve been caught in traps that have just been hauled and have been placed in a tray to be used to re-bait the empty traps.

Crab as bait in wire trap
A crab is tied down as bait in a wire trap


Sculpin Fish
A sculpin fish

Rock eel
A rock eel 

Bucket of starfish
A bucket of starfish

Spawning Female
A spawning female:  The captain holds a large female who is carrying eggs under her tail.  Berried females, as they are called, are thrown back into the sea.

Cleaning up the boat
Cleaning up:  The deck-hand uses the hose to clear away debris and to wash down the deck as the captain heads the boat back to the wharf.

Seagulls feasting
Seagulls feasting:  After the deck-hand drops the old bait overboard seagulls quickly arrive on the scene.

Back to the wharf
Back to the wharf:  The traps have been hauled and the day is almost done.  It is approximately 1:30pm.

Click here to see what goes on at the wharf.


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