Seafood buyers are reporting high lobster mortality and poor quality, which a federal scientist says may be because lobsters are extra fragile this year in Canada's largest lobster region off southwestern Nova Scotia.

Fishermen are catching lobsters, bigger than ever, in "crazy, crazy numbers," says Joel German, plant manager of I. Deveau Fisheries in Barrington Passage, but this winter, more than the usual amount have soft shells.

"It's not the same lobster as it used to be, so we can't hold them as long," he said.

Lobsters generally grow out of and then shed their shells once a year in a process called moulting. As the shells grow back, they're soft, making the lobster easier to hurt — and harder to store and ship.

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