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The Gaspe lobster, an exceptional lobster
Live lobster from the Gaspé is characterized by its vigor, which guarantees its great freshness. Its thick, hard shell, varying in color from blue to greenish brown, is filled with a tasty, dense, abundant white flesh. Some gourmets prefer the female, which can also contain eggs, but there is no noticeable difference in flavor between the two. We differentiate the male from the female by examining the ventral part of the lobster; the males have large rigid hooks after the last pair of legs while the females have small soft and hairy hooks. In addition, in comparison with the tail of the male, that of the female is wider to allow her to keep an impressive number of eggs stuck under her tail after spawning.
A source of vitamins, proteins, phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium, lobster has exceptional nutritional qualities. It is also low in saturated fat and contains omega-3 fatty acids that prevent cardiovascular disease. If Gaspé lobster is so good, it is because it benefits from excellent methods of preserving its quality on board ships and in processing plants, with short delivery times from sea to plate. You need to plan from 550 g (1¼ lb) to 750 g (1¾ lb) of lobster per person to enjoy an excellent meal.
A well-regulated and well-managed fishery
In Gaspé, 146 fishing licenses are operated by captain-owners and 12 other licenses are held collectively by three Aboriginal nations. They all fish in three lobster fishing areas (LFAs 19, 20 and 21), these areas being divided into 27 restricted sub-areas. Fishermen use very selective traps with openings that allow lobsters under the legal limit as well as other non-target species to escape.
Unlike the majority of marine species fished in Quebec, no catch limit (quota) is imposed for the lobster fishery. Fishing for this crustacean is competitive and it is the fishing effort that is controlled by regulations and by escape measures. To properly manage this effort, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada imposes fishing rules, such as the number of licenses, a limited number of traps per license, traps with regulated dimensions equipped with escape vents and biodegradable clips, a well-defined fishing season with only one hauling of traps per day allowed, the obligation to return berried females and all lobsters smaller than the minimum catch size (83 mm) or larger than the maximum catch size (145 mm). The Gaspé lobster stock is managed sustainably and is therefore doing very well.