What is a Fleet Launch?

The village of Alma is celebrating the launch of the fall fishing fleet on several days this year beginning with the launching of the lobster fleet on Friday, Oct. 14. Festivities will continue on Saturday, Oct. 15, and Sunday, Oct. 16, in the Village, Fundy National Park, and the surrounding area. Hundreds of people often show up for the festivities. In fact, it’s a local tradition to invite outsiders to Alma for this special event, which showcases the unique lobstering culture of the village.

The fleet launch marks the moment that the Alma-based fleet is allowed to enter the Bay of Fundy for the start of fall lobster season. That date is always established by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) but in this small village the fleet launch is complicated by the fact that this area is home to the highest tides in the world. They rise and fall four stories every six hours and 13 minutes and Alma’s fleet can only enter and exit the wharf at high tide, the rest of the time the boats are “dry-docked” on the bottom of the ocean. So here, fleet launch is altogether unique in that it is dictated not only by the DFO-set date but also by the timing of high tide.

This year the fleet will officially set off on Oct. 1 at high time (exact time to be determined later). At that time the activity on the wharf is intense as the ships are readied for the launch. Lobster traps are piled on their decks; floats and ropes lie at the ready. Depending on the tides, sometimes the fleet launch occurs during the dark evening hours. But this year the launch will be occurring in the daylight, offering visitors an even better chance to witness the activity.

On this special launch day hundreds of villagers and tourists will turn out to celebrate the launching of the fleet with Celtic music and more. You’ll get to watch as the lobster fishermen ready their ships then at the moment the season opens, motor out into the bay. It’s quite a sight!

 

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