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Fiona’s impact still not fully known for these P.E.I. lobster fishers

In many ways, it was like any other setting day for lobster fishers at Covehead Harbour, P.E.I. But there was also some uncertainty, and the wharf certainly doesn’t look the same. 

It’s easy to see how the storm damaged the wharf, but how it affected the lobsters is uncertain.

Lobster fishing boat leaves Covehead Harbour.

In many ways, Saturday was like any other setting day for lobster fishers at Covehead Harbour, P.E.I.

The seagulls lurked overhead and the familiar smell of saltwater and fresh bait cut through a crisp spring breeze.

There was some good-natured teasing as the captain and deck hands heaved the 50-pound (23-kilogram) traps onto the boats over and over until there was just enough room to squeeze themselves in before starting the engines and heading off to sea.

But, thanks to post-tropical storm Fiona last fall, it was also not like any other setting day.

While some buildings along the wharf are still standing, including the popular Richards Fish and Chips, gone are a handful of huts, blown off their blocks and landing in pieces more than a half a kilometre away.

The cracked concrete and broken beams make the wharf trickier to traverse.

People standing on fishing boat.

Sand bars have appeared where none existed before, though the boats had no trouble leaving the harbour.

But how the storm affected the lobsters crawling along the ocean floor was something on the mind of Allan Coady, a member of the Covehead Harbour authority whose family has been fishing lobster for four generations.

“We’re really anxious to get out there and get our first pick and see what they look like because after that storm nobody really knows how the ground is anymore because it all gets shifted around and if the lobsters were inside at the time the storm hit they’d take an awful beating.”

Lobster boats leaving Covehead Harbour loaded with of traps and returning empty. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/settingday?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#settingday</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/lobster?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#lobster</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/pei?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#pei</a> <a href=”https://t.co/tu6rZTIvEV”>pic.twitter.com/tu6rZTIvEV</a>

&mdash;@RossGShane

There is also uncertainty around the price fishers will get for their catch, usually anywhere from $6 to $10 a pound. Buyers generally wait a few days to see how the supply meets the demand, Coady said.

“It’ll be all right, a surprise is always good,” Coady said with a laugh.

Man heaves a lobster trap onto a boat.

Lobster fishers on P.E.I.’s south shore began their season on Wednesday, four days earlier than the traditional setting day of April 30.

Coady and the others in the north shore area set their traps Saturday, because the 30th falls on a Sunday. Sundays are traditionally the only days off for fishers during the two-month season.

Lobster fishing boat leaves Covehead Harbour.

Among Coady’s crew were his son, Bryce, daughter, Alyssa, and grandson, Blake.

Alyssa said it’s a lot of togetherness, but her father is fun to work with and they all get along well.

“We like to tease him a bit out there but he’s pretty good.”

It’s all a reminder that things will get back to normal. The wharf will be rebuilt bigger and better than before, the lobsters will taste just as delicious and the fishers will go about their business as usual, hoping to avoid the next big storm.

Damage at Covehead wharf. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Ross is a journalist with CBC News on Prince Edward Island. Previously, he worked as a newspaper reporter and editor in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. You can reach him at shane.ross@cbc.ca.

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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