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When did Shediac become the Lobster Capital of the World? Well, no one is quite sure. But ask residents what right their lively little town has to claim this grand title, and the answer leaps out: “Because the Lobster Festival is held here!” Shediac, indeed, has been home to this extremely popular festival since 1949, so it does have some backing to support the World Capital assertion. And of course, there is the matter of Shediac having the world’s largest lobster sculpture to greet residents and visitors alike.
Lobster fishing and processing have been a mainstay of the local industry since the mid-1800s. In the mid-20th century, local businessman Émile Paturel brought the industry to an international level with a revolutionary packing method that made his fortune.
He was also very passionate about Shediac, serving a stint as mayor, and about its burgeoning festival. In fact, he donated all the lobster for the festival’s first edition and declared that if the festival ever ran out, he would make sure another batch would be sent right away.
One of Hôtel Shediac’s meeting rooms is named the Paturel Room after this remarkable man who contributed greatly to our small but vibrant town becoming the true Lobster Capital of the World.
Lobster is Canada’s most valuable seafood export, contributing as much as $1 billion in export sales. In many ways, lobster is Canada’s representative to the world and one of the exports most closely associated with the country. Often called the “King of Seafood,” the lobster is the pride of Atlantic Canada. New Brunswick is one of the Atlantic provinces, and Shediac is often called the “Lobster Capital of the World.” Lobsters live on rocky, sandy, or muddy bottoms of the shoreline and are most commonly caught in lobster traps which are surrounded by lobster bouys (pictured above) to let the fishermen know where their traps are. Both lobster traps and bouys are a common site throughout the Atlantic provinces, and particularly in Shediac.