Excited fishermen and Swedish media were ready at 7am on Monday to hit the waters off the country’s west coast, hoping to bring a good haul of the succulent crustaceans.
”I see the lobster pots are standing piled on top of one another and everyone’s waiting for the clock to strike seven,” said Eva Heyman of the Göteborgs Posten newspaper as the season kicked off in western Sweden.
“It’s completely brilliant weather out here. Everyone seems really happy with the morning.”
But it’s not just the professional trawlers who take part in the fishing.
“The premiere of the lobster fishing season is a big event in Sweden. Some Swedes even take vacations from their jobs to go out and do it. It’s a big deal for a lot of people,” said Martin Rydgren, a senior analyst at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (Havs- och vattenmyndigheten) to The Local.
Current rules stipulate that fishermen can put out 14 crates at a time, as opposed to the 40 that people used prior to 2003.
Tourists are also welcome to get in on the action, with some companies offering safari tours for those eager to get their hands on the critters of the sea. But this is nothing new for Swedes, according to Rydgren.
“It’s a tradition that goes way back,” he said.
“Tourists can go out with the commercial fishermen if they want to be involved. A lot of people are especially keen on trying to catch black lobsters. These are quite expensive to buy and are something of a delicacy.”
While there is no limit to how many lobsters the fishermen may catch, any lobsters with a shell shorter than eight centimetres must be released.
Furthermore, only 14 pots per person may be set for the crustaceans, each with holes big enough to let the littler lobsters get loose.
Meanwhile, Rydgren is not concerned that the high demand will mean that anyone will break the rules.
“I think the lobster fishermen are watching each other so we won’t have any problem. People tend to follow the regulations. People are also afraid that if they don’t follow the regulations other people will be angry at them. They watch out for each other,” he said.
However, Rydgren is not convinced that the Swedish lobsters are any better than other Scandinavian lobsters, nor that the hunt is especially beneficial to the marine life in Sweden.
“I don’t think it’s very fun, I must say. And I don’t think there is anything special about Swedish lobsters, nothing better than those in Norway or Denmark anyway.”
The lobster season runs until April 30th next year.