Thursday, December 08, 2011

Aye, she fishes, that she does

Although there are many enticing job prospects for those of us who live around the Bay of Fundy, such as dulse picker, flounder boat T-shirt designer, mudshrimp biologist, seagull watcher, elf shoe maker, rug hooker, intertidal zone moon walker, salmon smoker and seagull researcher, I've never quite gotten over the appeal of becoming a lobster fisher.

Despite repeated warnings that it's intense, smelly, dangerous, strenuous work I'm still fascinated...which recently lead me to pester my colleague Shelley for a snapshot of what life is really like at sea for a Bay of Fundy chick.

In summer and early fall Shelley works for Brier Island Whale & Seabird cruises on Brier Island, Nova Scotia, where she's been manager and dedicated whale researcher for 21 years. In lobster season (November to May) for the past few years she's taken up lobster fishing!

Typical of most whale watch companies in our bay, the vessel she uses for whale watching is the same one used for lobster fishing: it undergoes an extreme makeover between seasons. To prepare for lobstering all the passenger seating, decorative railings, etc. are removed as is the boat's stern. Lobster gear is added, including an anchor rank to assist with hauling the traps. The smell, as Shelley says, is 'added gradually'. Shelley's fisher/fisherman/fisherwoman (she's not fussed about what you call her) days are 12 to 18 hours long, depending on the weather and the proximity of the traps.

When I asked what surprised her most about the reality lobster fishing it wasn't the long days or the heavy work, she actually said she was amused by how fiercely competitive the industry is - everyone has their own special spot in the bay that delivers 'the best' Bay of Fundy lobster!

1 comment:

Travelling Man said...

Love the blog!! I have been on a boat since the start if the season and for a visiting traveller it has been more of an experience than I could have ever imagined!!
keep up the posts!!