One of the most popular promotions we’ve ever done is our all-you-can-eat lobsters on Friday nights, which continues for one more Friday, April 22. We’ve received dozens of comments on our blog posts and our Facebook page and we’re delighted that you are so happy with this promotion.
Given the popularity of this special, we thought it would be appropriate to provide more information about the lobsters from the supplier, Clearwater Seafoods Limited, which supplies all five Eddie Merlot’s locations with lobster year-round – not just during this promotion. You can get tasty, tender lobster year-round from us at market prices.
Here’s an interview we did with Clearwater about their lobsters.
Tell us about the history and background of your company.
In 1976, John Risley and Colin MacDonald started Clearwater with a pickup truck and an optimistic vision at their Bedford Highway location in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The company has grown into a globally respected seafood company and it continues to prosper. Clearwater has charted a course in the global seafood industry inspired by the timeless fishing traditions and entrepreneurial zeal of its Atlantic Canadian heritage.
Clearwater has invested in science, people, technology, resource ownership and resource management to preserve and grow its seafood resource. Clearwater is vertically integrated from ‘ocean to plate,’ owning the quotas, licenses, vessels, processing facilities, and providing the delivery and customer support services to our local and global customer base.
Clearwater’s ongoing strategy has been to market the ‘superior eating experience’ in the true taste, texture, quality and flavor of its shellfish and seafood products. This goal will never change.
As CEO Ian Smith says, “Our job is to bring our customers the ‘seafood finest eating experience. To do this we need to lock in the natural goodness of our products at the time of harvest as well as maintaining it throughout the distribution process. This requires constant vigilance and investments in the innovative use of technology, science and responsible, sustainable and ethical fishing practices. We are proud to be an industry leader in providing – direct to your plate – the best bounty the sea has to offer!”
Tell us about the area where you harvest the lobsters. What is it like there? What are the challenges of harvesting there?
The inshore fishery takes place within 50 miles of shore and is managed through input control in each lobster fishing area around the coast. Management measures include seasonal openings (May to July in Cape Breton/Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia and the end of November to the end of May in Southwest Nova Scotia) , restricted entry to the fishery, a limited number of traps per fishermen, minimum legal size of retention, mandatory trap escape vents for juveniles and protection for egg bearing females.
Arichat and Clark’s Harbour are located on the northeastern and southwestern shores of Nova Scotia respectively and are home to Clearwater’s Dryland Pound Storage facilities which allow Clearwater to hold and ship live lobster to our global customers on a year round basis.
What is your Dryland Pound Storage System?
Clearwater employs a team of biologists who apply biological science and technology to perfect handling and storage systems to maintain lobster quality and health. Once the lobsters reach shore, careful attention is of utmost importance. Clearwater is the inventor of the world’s first lobster-friendly Dryland Pound Storage System, which has enabled Clearwater to supply premium hard-shell lobster anywhere in the world, any time of year.
The system replicates the dark, winter-like conditions of the crustaceans’ natural habitat. This encourages the lobsters to hibernate and preserves their fresh-caught taste and quality. By nature lobsters are solitary creatures. The system stores one lobster per compartment, ensuring they feel safe and secure from predators. The environment is free of chemicals and antibiotics and every hour, over five million liters of icy-fresh, nutrient-rich sea water cascades through the patented “lobster-friendly” compartments. Lobsters are very much affected by stress. Stress lowers their blood protein levels, negatively affecting the eating quality in both the taste and texture. By minimizing stress, Clearwater is able to maintain the perfection of a fully-meated Canadian lobster at the peak of its fresh-caught taste, until it is ready to be served.
Clearwater has two other lobster holding facilities in Louisville, Ky., and Bedford, Nova Scotia which, in addition to servicing the global customer base, are the distribution and service centers for lobster and other products shipped to our e-commerce shoppers across much of mainland North America.
What’s the season for lobster harvesting – or when is the busiest time?
There are two main seasons for harvesting lobster in Nova Scotia: May to July in Cape Breton and Eastern Shore areas of Nova Scotia and the end of November to the end of May in Southwest Nova Scotia. These seasons are not only important to maintain sustainability of the resource, they are also periods when lobsters are healthiest and more full-meated than at other times of the year.
What are some of the factors that make the lobsters you sell to Eddie Merlot’s particularly tasty?
Clearwater Lobsters are 100 percent wild, caught from the pristine Canadian North Atlantic waters using traditional lobster fishing methods. Clearwater Premium Hardshell Lobsters are harvested at times when energy levels are highest and meat content is at a maximum, yielding a more succulent grade and up to 50 percent more meat in an equally sized competitor’s lobster.
We follow very specific handling and seasoning procedures unmatched by any other in the industry, to ensure minimum stress through each step of the distribution chain. This minimizing of stress is key to ensure maximum taste and texture.