SUMMER’S NOT OVER AND NEITHER IS LOBSTER SEASON

PEI’s sustainable lobster fishery has second season in August

Every summer Islanders make the “list” of all the things they plan to do before winter sets in again. Consuming quantities of lobster is often high on that to-do list. Well, even if your other plans went off the rails, do not fear, it is certainly not too late to get your hands on fresh-caught Prince Edward Island lobster.

A lot of excitement goes along with that first catch of the season and the requisite Mother’s Day feasts, but August and September are excellent months to head to the market for a few more lobster feeds. In order to protect the stocks for the future, the PEI lobster fishery is highly regulated and Island fishers stay off the water from July 1 to August 8 to allow the lobster time to shed its shell and develop a new one. Then on August 9, the 225 fishers working out of south shore ports from Victoria to Tignish (Lobster Fishing Area 25) set their traps for a two-month fishing season.

The summer break in fishing is only one of the reasons that the Marine Stewardship Council has awarded the PEI lobster fishery official sustainable certification. Other protection measures taken by Island fishers include a limited number of licenses and a limited number of traps per fisher, traps with escape hatches, minimum carapace shell size, and the release of females bearing eggs.

“Island fishers were highly involved in defining the measures to protect the resource,” Mitch Jollimore said. He fishes out of the French River area. “And many PEI fishers are actively engaged in the ongoing research to understand the lobster species, collecting and sharing data about the lobsters throughout the season.”

As well, great strides have been made in holding live lobster between seasons, with many lobster pounds utilizing state-of-the-art water recirculating systems to ensure the lobsters are just as fresh all summer as the day they were caught. Many fishers are also outfitting their boats with canopies and insulated tanks ensuring lobsters are in top condition when they arrive at the wharf.

The Lobster Fishers of PEI Marketing Board ramped up their levy-supported marketing campaign in 2018, with new branding, appearances at events across the Island, participation in the Culinary Federation of Canada conference, a visit by Canadian food journalists, and the creation of three new lobster recipes. See the next page for one recipe you can try.

So what’s different about a lobster harvested in August or September compared to one caught during the spring fishery? “Some people prefer the taste and texture of lobster caught in the fall season,” Jen Bryant said. Bryant is a product developer and food stylist at Canada’s Smartest Kitchen in Charlottetown. “And of course, because the new shells are not quite so hard, the meat is that much easier to extract from the shell, making it perfect for this recipe we just developed for the Lobster Fishers of PEI.”

Whatever the season, fresh lobster from PEI is sure to satisfy.

Mango Green Curry Lobster                            Photo credit: Lobster PEI

 

Mango Green Curry Lobster

2 whole (1 ½ pound) lobsters
To cook lobsters:
1. Bring a large pot of cold, salted water to a boil.
2. Carefully remove bands from lobsters and place into boiling water.
3. Cook lobsters at a rolling boil for 12-15 minutes and up to 20 minutes for larger lobster; lobsters are cooked when antennae or legs pull out easily.
4. Remove from cooking water and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
5. When cool enough to handle, remove lobster meat from shells and roughly chop lobster meat.

Mango Green Curry Sauce
Cooked lobsters, shucked and chopped
1 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup frozen mango, cubed
2 tsp green curry paste
Salt & black pepper
1 tbsp canola oil
½ cup bell peppers, chopped
Cilantro, chopped (optional)
Lime wedges, quartered

Method:
1. Combine coconut milk, frozen mango, green curry paste, and salt and pepper in a blender; blend until smooth.
2. Add canola oil to a medium-size pot, bring heat to medium heat.
3. Add red peppers and cook until softened, approximately 6-7 minutes.
4. Add mango-green curry sauce to the pot; bring to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes.
5. Fold in lobster meat and cook just until heated through.
6. Remove from heat and divide between 2 serving dishes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
7. Serve with jasmine rice, naan bread or pappadums.

Chef’s Tip
Try adding Sambal or chili peppers if you like a spicy curry. There are many prepared versions of curry sauce available at the grocery store; use your favourite brand or try making it from scratch.
This recipe is versatile and would complement many flavour variations.