One of the big holiday food traditions in our house is a feed of lobster on Christmas Eve. We don’t get fancy – we just cover the table with newspaper and boil up the tasty crustaceans and serve them with melted butter and some potato salad.
While the season has ended in a number of places until spring, inshore lobster fishing is still taking place in southern Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Lobster fishing is always legal offshore, although purists prefer lobsters sourced closer to land, which means there is still lobster to be had – inexpensively.
Economic woes, particularly in the US, have adversely affected the Atlantic lobster fishery, both in the US and Canada. This means a decent retail price for consumers (normally about $14.99 a pound, lobster prices over the holidays dropped as low as $6.99 per pound in Toronto), but not such a great deal for lobster fishers who have the same costs to cover even though their profit is less. In Halifax this past December, lobster fishers were being offered a wholesale rate of $3 per pound and many boycotted sales to mainstream stores in favour of that traditional Nova Scotian sales method – setting up by the side of the road and selling the things out of the back of a truck. This at least allowed the fishers to charge a still inexpensive $5 per pound and to recoup their operating costs and turn a small profit.
This is not a practical option for selling lobster in Toronto, however, and we have no choice but to hand some money over to the middlemen and buy our lobster at an actual store, but with prices like these, it’s an opportunity that might not come along again for some time.