HACSI: Harbour Authority of Cape Sable Island
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Please note:  All of this information is available at www.LOBSTERSCIENCE.CA/MOULT 

We will update the information displayed here from 5 December, 2011, the last sample date.  In due course we will also try to put all this data into everyday understandable language.  In the meatime, click here when you have a lot of time on your hands and desire to learn all about lobster health.  

What can we expect from the 2011 fall season?

Click here:LFA 33/34 Moult & Quality Monitoring Project - November 2011 Update

Depending on the location, we have between 4-7 years of continuous data. We have looked at the information collected so far and tried to see if we could predict with some level of certainty what will be coming out of the water once the season opens at the end of November 2011. With an increasing number of companies and individual fishermen using blood proteins as an indicator of quality, it is important to keep in mind that several factors can influence blood protein levels such as moult cycle, water temperature,health, diet, etc. and therefore, caution must be used when making predictions.

Overall, based on the 2011 pre-season sampling, lobsters landed at the start of the season in Southwest Nova Scotia should be of similar condition, or slightly worse to those landed at the start of last year’s season. Based on blood protein levels, lobsters caught around the Port Latour Inside could be more advanced in their recovery from the moult while lobsters from Cape Sable Inside & Outside areas have the lowest blood protein levels of all 10 sites sampled.

However, Cape Sable Inside & Outside also show the highest proportion of hard shelled lobsters from all sample sites.   When looking at the combination of blood protein, moult stage and shell hardness together from this pre-season sampling, it is possible that lobsters landed from Yarmouth Inside, Yarmouth Outside andnbLobster Bay areas could be somewhat of lesser quality than last year. As advised in the past, extra caution should be taken when deciding what product can be stored for later sale.

BLOOD PROTEIN LEVELS - BRIX INDEX - When looking at the 2011 pre-season sampling conducted in those 10 sites, we see that only two sites have blood protein levels significantly below 8 on the Brix index: Cape Sable Island both inside and outside. Overall, we also notice that sampled lobsters from only one site, Port Latour Inside, have an average blood protein level that is higher than what was observed the last two years. On the other hand, it appears that lobsters from Lobster Bay and Sambro areas have seen a significant decrease in their average blood protein levels compared to last year’s pre-season sampling. Therefore,based on blood protein levels alone, it appears that the 2011 pre-season sampling points toward a similar or slower recovery from the moult, with perhaps better conditions in Port Latour Inside.

SHELL HARDNESS & MOULT CYCLE - Overall, very few lobsters assessed were in active pre-moult. This is suggesting that the majority of lobsters have already moulted, while only an insignificant number will be moulting in the weeks or days prior to the opening of the fall season. When looking at shell hardness, only Cape Sable Island Inside and Outside had over 80% of the sampled lobsters classified as ‘hard shell,’ while the Moose Harbour sample had less than 50% of the lobsters in hard shell. Overall, 7 out of the 10 sites had a lower proportion of lobsters classified as hard shell compared to last year. Therefore, based on the shell hardness alone, the 2011 pre-season sampling indicates that the proportion of softer lobsters at the start of the fall season could be more significant than in the previous years.

Note: Only the latest sampling dates are shown here. The overall pattern throughout the year for the parameters monitored was considered when predicting the quality of the LFAs 33/34 2011 fall season. Confidence is highest for those locations where sampling was done closest to the start of the season.