Field Trip! Eric's Lobster Boat

Field Trip! Eric's Lobster Boat
Hauling a pot

A hydraulic pot hauler pulls the traps up and out of the water.

lobster in pot

Pots hold bait in the middle. To get to the bait, lobsters enter the pot through a mesh opening, which they can't exit from.

Measuring

Lobsters are each measured to ensure that they're large enough to sell.

banding

Claws are "banded": kept closed with rubber bands to prevent them from damaging each other as they're transported.

lobsters
lobsters waiting to be banded

Lobsters waiting to be banded. They're kept separate in these tubes until banding because they're very active at this time of year and would damage each other if placed together in crates without being banded.

lobster claws
measuring
bands
equipment

Some of the equipment on Dad's boat; he describes how they're used in the audio.

unloading

The day's catch being lifted up to the waiting buyer's truck.

sandford wharf

The beautiful Sandford wharf, home to the smallest operating drawbridge in North America and one of my Dad's buildings (which, incidentally was painted by Chris Dyer in 2015).

Welcome to the first Field Trip episode here at Nova Scotia Kitchens! By design, kitchens are places where ingredients come together from all over the world. Since there are so many Nova Scotian ingredients that are harvested, grown, made and collected right here in our beautiful province, I thought that it would be fun to share the details of how they make their way to our kitchens in these bonus Field Trip posts/episodes. These posts won't necessarily contain a recipe, but will highlight the origins of an ingredient produced in Nova Scotia.

Since it's the last weeks of the lobster season here in District 34, the end of my Dad's last full season running his boat, and since Alana's Lobster Cakes were the most recent featured recipe, I thought the timing was perfect for a little ride on my Dad's lobster boat, the Anne Isabella. And Dad and his crew were gracious enough to humour me! 

I tried to record some audio on the boat, but if you've ever been on a lobster boat, you'll know that the engine is loud. Really loud. So instead, I sat down with Dad in his living room and asked him to talk about how lobsters are caught, how the process is different than it was when he started in 1970, and about his favourite part of being a lobster fisherman.

Dad has been lobster fishing from the Sandford wharf for 47 years, and his father was a lobster fisherman before him. My parents' house sits at the top of a hill looking down toward the wharf, and I spent much of my time on the wharf and at the beach as a kid. During lobster season, Dad would come home smelling of bait and salty air and mom would wash his smelly clothes and hang his wool wristers and socks to dry. Every evening, she would make sandwiches for his next day's lunch. These were counted out in halves, always: "How many sandwiches for tomorrow?" "Four halves." In the summers, I would ride my bike down to the wharf and help dad pack bait into boxes to freeze until winter, splatters of fishy juice and scales covering my arms and face.

Dad mentions creamed lobster, a local specialty, as one of his favourite ways to eat lobster. He also mentions lobster sandwiches, which I have specific opinions on. To me, they must be made by mixing cold chopped lobster with mayo, salt and pepper, and really piling it on between two slices of super fresh (preferably homemade) white bread, sliced on the diagonal and served with a handful of salted potato chips. Dad also likes them dipped in vinegar and butter - just melt a bit of butter and add vinegar to taste. 

So the next time you have lobster on your plate, send some good thoughts to the fishermen (and women, although there aren't many) who brought them up from the ocean floor for you. Enjoy!