Lobster capital debate hits boiling point as Shediac, N.B. claws for the title
Published Tuesday, March 13, 2018 6:36PM EDT
Which Canadian community is the rightful lobster capital? It depends who you ask.
In a special two-part series, CTV Atlantic visited Barrington, N.S. and Shediac, N.B. to field pitches from the communities, both of which believe they are the definitive lobster capital.
Last week, residents of Barrington, which purchased the trademark “lobster capital of Canada” 20 years ago, argued that the sheer size of their catches gives them lone bragging rights.
But, before Barrington bought its trademark, Shediac purchased the rights for “lobster capital of the world.” A red lobster is emblazoned on the town’s coat of arms, and a massive 35-tonne crustacean -- the largest lobster on Earth -- greets visitors on the outskirts of Shediac.
The community’s claim is more than skin deep. Shediac opened its first lobster-processing plant in 1861. Every summer, the community hosts a lobster festival. In 2017, tourists shelled their way through 10,000 of the crustaceans.
The community that thrives off processing lobster is also dedicated to keeping them alive. For every lobster consumed during the weekend-long festival in July, a juvenile lobster is released into Shediac Bay.
Edgar LeBlanc, co-chair of the Shediac Lobster Festival, explained that the move is meant to preserve the population.
“It takes about seven years really come to a big lobster but they’re small and tiny when we put them in the bay,” he said.
Despite the friendly feud, Barrington and Shediac have a tightknit working relationship. Many of the lobster caught in Barrington are shipped to Shediac, where they are processed for sale.
That’s because Shediac has “the secret recipe,” claims Ron Cormier, a retired fisherman.
“It is a well-kept secret, but we like to share the results of that secret with a perfectly-cooked lobster,” he said. “We are the lobster capital of the world.”
Barrington builds its case around its huge catches. According to Barrington Tourism, 40 per cent of Canada’s lobster and 20 per cent of North America’s lobster come from the waters off Barrington.
The community also claims to have the most lobster fishers of anywhere, and its own seasonal crush of lobster-hungry tourists.
Trademarks aside, there can only be one lobster capital. Click here to vote for the community you think deserves the title.