(Information was current at the time of writing)
- Wilfred Bartlett – Mariner – Newfoundland & Labrador
A well-known fishing captain (retired) from Brighton in Notre Dame Bay, and a prolific advocate and spokesman for issues related to the marine industries, particularly in Newfoundland and Labrador. His letters and commentaries, based on his experiences and educated opinions, on issues in the province remain commonplace throughout the province’s media.
- Vernon Petten – Mariner – Newfoundland & Labrador
Vernon is a well-known captain from Port de Grave, NL, with many years fishing experience. He is still active in the fishery. He is also a highly skilled boat builder who has constructed 11 longliners and repaired or partially built many more. Mr. Petten also has a very long track record of volunteering.
- Mark Small – Mariner – Newfoundland & Labrador
Mark is probably best known for his long-time service in the sealing industry. He served as President of the Canadian Sealers Association for 15 years. Under Mark’s leadership, the CSA played a key role in reviving a sealing industry that was all but dead after the end of the so-called large boat hunt, when harvesting whitecoat seals was banned. Fighting to save the sealing industry, Mark travelled extensively. But it wasn’t all the glamour that you might think. Mark has taken an unbelievable amount of abuse. He’s been called every obscenity in the book, often to his face, by radical extremists, he’s been threatened with physical harm, sometimes getting harassing phone calls in the middle of the night, but he never stopped his relentless defense and promotion of the industry. Active in the Baie Verte Development Association, Mark was instrumental in getting a feeder plant in his community. He was active in the development of the crab fishery, specifically in advocating that the crab resource should provide for more than just a few well-off enterprise owners.
- Denny Morrow – Processor – Nova Scotia
Denny has offered extreme dedication to the industry by fighting for the betterment for everyone in it. Denny has worked in the field of adult education for quite some time.
He worked as the Coordinator for the Fisheries RITC (Regional Industrial Training Committee) from 1992-1999. He took on a position with the NS Fish Packers Association (Salt Fish Packers Association) in the mid 1990’s. As executive director of the NS Fish Packers Association, he works diligently to bridge the gap between processor/buyer and fishermen, and is an avid proponent of lobstermen.
He attends meetings such as the LFA 33-34 lobster advisory committees on a regular basis and is always open to any questions posed. He has been the point man in dealings with DFO on a number of issues; Denny has been challenged with many issues such as the Marshall Decision, where he was instrumental in forming the Atlantic Fishing Industry Alliance.
He was heavily involved in NoRigs 2000 where he was successful in extending the Georges Bank moratorium to 2012.
As chairman of NORIGS 3, he is leading the charge against fossil fuel exploration on Georges Bank. He is backed by the lobstermen from LFA 33-34 and the entire Bay of Fundy, different gear sectors harvesting groundfish on the rich and unique spawning bank, as well as bluefin tuna and swordfishermen, aboriginal groups and environmentalists.
He has had a passion for reducing the grey seal herd in NS in order to protect the groundfish industry and he has been very active in trying to provide a proper structural foundation in the lobster industry. Denny is a former school teacher and farmer. He understands how difficult it is to run a small business in times of global competition.
Denny has long been considered a true leader in the industry.
When Denny is not dealing with industry issues, he is an avid runner, enjoys spending time outdoors doing various activities and has several grandchildren that he enjoys spending time with.
- Henry Surrette – Builder – Nova Scotia
Henry Surrette has received the following:
- The Gulf of Maine Visionary Award for the development of the waste oil collection barrels at wharves across Canada and the USA. It was the first time this award was bestowed upon an individual and not an organization.
- The Gold Lobster Award from the Americans for his role in organizing the USA-Canada Organization called the North Atlantic Lobstermen Coalition.
- The Governor General of Canada Award for his work on behalf of the fishing industry.
- An award from the telephone company of the day for the design and implementation of the *16 feature for the cellular network in order to provide mariners with an added sense of security.
- A Coast Guard Award for his role in saving four lives.
- An award from the Wood Hole Institute of Massachusetts, USA for his design of a better method of freeing whales which become entangled in rope.
Henry Surrette has been:
- A member of the Auxiliary Coast Guard for the past 20 years.
- A member of the Voluntary Planning Committee for the fishery for 10 years.
- A past president of the Provincial Maritime Fishermen’s Union
- A member of the Lobster Advisory Committee
- A member of Coast Guard Advisory Council in Ottawa
Henry Surrette has played an integral part in the invention and development of a truck capable of hauling lobsters and keeping them in good health for 21 days.
Henry has worked with universities across the country in designing projects for the graduate students to work on to assist in developing their programs, many of which won first or third prize. Henry has built and redesigned an older lobster boat which he believes was the first boat to be widened and lengthened and then fibreglassed over wood.
- Ashton Spinney – Builder – Nova Scotia
Ashton Spinney was born November 9, 1943 in Argyle, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, to a lobsterman and Irish moss buyer.
Ashton fished with his father during his teen years and dug Irish moss. He eventually fished lobsters from an oared-powered dory, later graduating to an outboard motor as a power source and still goes lobstering to this day, albeit with much safer and more expensive equipment than a pair of oars and an ornery dory.
In the 1980s, he was selected by his peers in his port cluster to a Department of Fisheries and Oceans Lobster Advisory Committee as a representative.
“At one of the first meetings, I was approached to be co-chair. Arnold Muise, who was with the provincial department of fisheries at the time, told me it would only involve one or two meetings a year,” Ashton said during an interview. Little did he know…
Ashton is co-chair of the LFA 34 Lobster Advisory Committee and Lobster Management Committee. He is also a member of the Fishermen Scientists Research Society – a group which puts fishery scientists aboard volunteer fishing boats to conduct science on a local basis, and a member of the finance committee of the University of Prince Edward Island Lobster Institute, which conducts research on Atlantic Canada’s most valued fishery species.
He is also a member of the Lobster Institute of the University of Maine based in Orino, Maine and co-chairs the Canada-United States Town Hall meetings. These meetings engage fishermen, buyers and others connected with this fishery in frank discussion in a town hall-like setting.
Ashton Spinney estimates he attends on average ten to 15 meetings a month, with some months, meetings taking place almost on a daily basis. “My vacation is when I go fishing,” he says. Some meetings are local but more often than not they involve trips to Halifax, Bridgewater, Moncton and even Ottawa. For the vast majority of these attendances, Ashton foots the bill. This includes travel, hotels and the all pervasive telephone calls.
Such dedication is hard to find these days and Ashton Spinney is a loner when it comes to volunteering. He does this despite the voluminous amount of criticism heaped on him by some of his peers. If there are true champions in the inshore lobstermen, Ashton Spinney is one of them.
- Delma Doucette – Mariner – New Brunswick
Delma is the owner/operator of the purse seiner Margaret Elizabeth. He is the last independent owner/operator of 45 purse seiners on the east coast. Delma is a self-sufficient, prime producer; he has no government grants, no public relations people and no executive assistants.
Delma is highly respected by his fellow fishermen. He has given tonnes of fish to others when needed, and is always first to respond in times of distress. The economy of Charlotte County wouldn’t be the same without his endless efforts.
- Frank McLaughlin – Builder – New Brunswick
For many years, Frank has been a well respected fisherman and representative for those in his industry. From Tracadie, NB, Frank has served with local 1 of the Maritime Fisherman’s Union (MFU). He also served on the organization’s executive, including the longest standing term as president in the late 1990s.
He was president during some major changes in the MFU history, including critical discussions on crab and lobster in 1999, and during the Marshall decision on aboriginal fishing rights. Frank’s leadership helped contain each of these contentious issues and greatly contributed to their resolution.
Frank is also an active member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and has served as president of the Maritimes Region Auxiliary, which includes 700 members and 400 vessels who assist in search and rescue situations in PEI, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Frank exhibits extraordinary volunteer commitment and his dedication to his fellow fishermen and community members is both longstanding and noteworthy.
- Doug Fraser – Mariner – Prince Edward Island
Doug Fraser from Alberton, PEI, has fished for more than 25 years and been an active member of the Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association and the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association for most of his career.
Doug has also been a long-time leader on the tuna fishing file in PEI, Atlantic Canada and internationally.
Over a decade ago, Doug first represented Atlantic tuna fishermen as a Canadian Commissioner to the ICCAT and is currently serving his third term as commissioner with the organization, which represents 48 different countries.
Doug also serves as the president of Alberton Fisheries Ltd. and devotes endless hours in that role to ensure local fishermen receive the best possible price for their catch. He has also been active within his local community and has served on many different community groups in Western PEI.
- Gerard Chidley – Mariner – Newfoundland & Labrador
Gerard is a well-known fishing captain from Renews, on the southern shore of the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland. Gerard started fishing as a boy with his father and continued to work his way up in the business. Gerard holds a Fishing Masters Class 1 and an ON1/Intermediate Voyage Certificate. He is the owner and co-captain of multi-species fishing vessels and has a long history and extensive experience within the fishing industry.
Gerard has served on an Advisory Group and Industry Representative on groundfish, pelagics and shellfish, and as ICCAT Commissioner. He has also served as Crab Committee Chair and as an Inshore Council member on the FFAW and as a provincial ALPAC representative. He is a CMAC and NSAC member, Chair of the 3L Shrimp Committee, Chair of the 3L Crab Fleet, a member of the Executive Board and Chair of the Harvesting Board of CCFI and is also a board member of One Ocean.
He most recently served as Chair of the Fisheries Resources Conservation Council (FRCC).
Gerard has spent countless volunteer hours that only those closest to him know about. Many days and nights he has put together proposals to present to his fellow fishers, the FFAW and government. Gerard’s nominator says that when things looked dismal at the beginning of the year, he could always find the positive side and how to get the season started.
He is continually trying to keep the fishing industry a viable and sustainable business for all generations.
- Don Best – Builder – Newfoundland & Labrador
Don was born in 1932 and spent his whole life involved in the fishing industry.
He pursued courses at the Marine Institute and travelled widely, observing other fisheries and co-operatives from the east coast to the west coast of Canada. He has served on many different boards as well during his 20 years in municipal politics. In addition, he taught extension courses at the Marine Institute from 1973 to 1978.
He started out fishing at age 16 with his uncle and father fishing cod traps from a trap skiff. From there he expanded to a 35 foot longliner in 1966. In 1980 he expanded again to a 45 foot longliner to prosecute the cod, turbot and greysole gillnet fishery offshore.
Don was always eager to participate in the development of new technology including being one of the first to use the Japanese trap in the province as well as experimenting with automatic reels replacing handlines. Most recently, he presented a plan to experiment with pots for turbot.
His two sons became involved in the family enterprise in the mid-1980s when they finished school. In 1990, expansion was in the works again and a 55 foot longliner was built to participate in the snow crab fishery. This was the last vessel that Don would fish on before retirement from the boats to onshore activities.
Since retirement, he has remained active in the family business and has participated in the addition of three more multi-purpose vessels to the fleet, including two 55 foot vessels and the newest addition in 2008, a 65 foot vessel. These vessels are used to pursue the profitable snow crab fishery in addition to the shrimp fishery.
Since the 1950s, Don has been an active leader helping Fogo Island through economic and social changes. He was a member of the Fogo Town Council when it brought the first centralized electric power generating facilities to the island. He was one of the founding members of the Fogo Island Improvement Committee. This group spearheaded the construction of one of the first centralized and integrated schools in the province and led the way in the economic and social changes that enabled the island’s communities to survive. He participated in the National Film Board/Memorial University Extension film project of the late 1960s which has become known worldwide as the “Fogo Film Process.” He was one of the founding members of the Fogo Island Fishermen’s Co-operative processing operation and served as its president from 1976-1984. That gave the fishermen and people of Fogo Island generally more control of their economy and future. Today, the Co-operative is the largest employer on the island and is a major player in the processing sector in the province as events showed this past year.
He has also served on a litany of community boards and with various bodies in the Fogo Island region from church groups to municipal organizations.
- Jack Troake – Mariner – Newfoundland & Labrador
Jack grew up in Twillingate, NL, the son of one of the best-known names in Newfoundland’s seafaring history in his day, Captain Peter Troake. Troake was known for his command of the vessel Christmas Seal, a floating X-Ray unit that traveled everywhere in Newfoundland in the days when tuberculosis was rampant.
Jack is a founding member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (NL), the Canadian Sealers Association and the Northeast Coast Sealers Co-op.
He was always interested in any new innovations within the fishing industry, both on the catching capacity and electronic devices.
Jack was always very concerned about conservation. He strongly believed that everyone should always release alive any species that were caught that there was no market for.
Above all else, Jack was and still is one of the most vocal advocates of the seal fishery. Jack continues to be available to the media, defending the hunt and the sealers but it has been his connection to foreign and Canadian mainland media where Jack has accomplished more than anyone will ever truly know. Some people have stated that Jack has single-handedly accomplished more than all the politicians of the past 30 years combined. It would be easy to defend that claim.
Jack and his wonderful wife Florence have invited hundreds of mainland and foreign journalists and their camera crews into their home, giving them a place to sleep and feeding them even though many of those media people were in total opposition to the hunt. But after a couple of days listening to Jack’s “colourful and often spicy” language, they couldn’t deny his absolute passion in defending the sealing industry and the Newfoundland and Labrador culture. On many occasions they left NL with a different point of view than the one they had when they arrived. They returned home to New York, Vancouver, Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Australia and elsewhere with a far more balanced story than they would have delivered to their country’s audiences had they not known Jack Troake.
Additionally, Jack was always very vocal with regard to fishery policies that he viewed as being detrimental to fishermen. He would use any means available to get his views across and to make life more bearable for fishermen. He is an advocate for his fellow Newfoundlanders, trying for fair and honest treatment for us all when he views an injustice has been served upon our province or its people.
And he always makes himself available to visit the schools and talk about Newfoundland’s heritage within the fishery, both past and present. During these talks the seal fishery would always be defended with emotion and honest dialogue.
- Hubert Saulnier – Mariner – Nova Scotia
Hubert is a fishing captain that has a stellar history of working to make the fishing industry better for everyone. Hubert operates out of Saulnierville. Besides lobster, Hubert is also involved in the fixed gear fisheries, fishing pollock, white hake and some cod.
He is currently president of MFU local 9 and also chair of a committee under the MFU umbrella that deals with gillnet issues.
Hubert is a founding member and currently co-chair of the Fundy Fixed Gear Council (FFGC) that concerns itself with community-based management. He took a course from St. FX University for that position. Hubert has participated with others from as far away as Norway and Alaska to share ideas on community-based managed models.
Hubert is a partner in Coastal Community University Research Alliance (CURA) – partnership between communities and universities to involve first nation’s peoples, students and others.
Hubert is also on the Right Whale Recovery Team and has been on a committee to deal with the Right whale issue for several years.
Hubert is on the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) fishing gear committee that investigates ways to make fishing gear more marine life friendly.
He is also on the LFA 34 committee and is a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the MFU Clean Oceans group, served as president of the Meteghan Gear Shed Committee, network coordinator to meet with fishermen and explain changes in Transport Canada rules, ship safety, etc. He is also part of a lobster tagging project through Eco Trust. Hubert is also a member of the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters and the Fishermen Scientists Research Society.
- Jean Guy d’Entremont – Mariner – Nova Scotia
Jean Guy d’Entremont, from West Pubnico, joined his father, uncle and three cousins in the fish business right out of high school. Jean Guy is currently president and owner of Scotia Harvest Seafoods Inc. as well as president and part-owner of Marro Management Inc.
At age 23, Jean Guy skippered an inshore dragger and fished extensively in the Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf, and out around Sable Island. He successfully completed his Fishing Masters Class 4 course in 1987. After seven years as skipper, he regained a position on shore to help coordinate the fleet of five vessels once the ITQ system was put in place.
In 1994, Jean Guy initiated the work to develop the Joint Industry/DFO ITQ groundfish survey that has been ongoing since 1995.
Jean Guy was one of the original six fishermen that first sat down to develop a Canadian Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing Operations in which the consensus code was adopted in 1998.
In 1998, he was appointed to the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council by the Federal Minister of Fisheries. In 2002, the Minister appointed Jean Guy vice-chair of the Council and as Chairman from November 2003 to September 2010.
Jean Guy is a former member of the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council, and currently participates in two fisheries roundtables; the National Seafood Value Chain Roundtable as well as the Scotia Fundy DFO/Fishing Industry Roundtable.
In 2000, Jean Guy’s peers appointed him Co-Chair of the North Atlantic Responsible Fishing Council Steering Committee.
His duties included co-chairing the second and third North Atlantic Responsible Fishing Conferences; in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in November of 2000, and on June 9-11, 2003 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
- Dick Stewart – Builder – Nova Scotia
Dick was born in Ottawa, ON in 1933 and moved to Nova Scotia in 1940. He resides in Sand Beach, with Diane, and has two sons, Gordie and Mickey, as well as grandchildren, Kayla, Brittany, Michael, Scott, Jordon, Sara, Xavier and Rowan.
He graduated from Radio College Canada in 1954 and was employed by the Canadian Marconi Company as a marine electronics technician until 1965, when he went swordfishing in his vessel Acadian Pal.
He held various fishing jobs during this time, including a stint as mate and chief engineer on the fishing training vessel Judy & Linda IV.
In 1967, he and numerous other fishing industry members formed a Coast Guard Committee that was instrumental in establishing the Canadian Coast Guard as we know it today.
He was employed with Computing Devices of Canada as a marine electronic tech in 1970, and in 1974 he formed the Atlantic Fishermen’s Association along with Capt. Junior Denton and Capt. Artie Dakin. Since that time he has worked or served with the Atlantic Herring Co-op, which he formed, and also with individuals Fern Doucet (former DFO) and Romeo LeBlanc (former Minister of Fisheries). Since 1998, he has also been the manager of the Full Bay Scallop Association.
He is an advisor to the International Commission to North Atlantic Fisheries, NAFO, Law of the Sea and the George’s Bank Treaty negotiations with the United States.
He also serves with many community boards and organizations and is an active volunteer with the industry.
- J.E. (Jim) Bateman – Processor – New Brunswick
Jim Bateman of Shediac Cape, NB, made a significant mark on the fishery mostly during the time he has spent in a variety of roles — including president — of Paturel Seafood Ltd.
He also served as president of Leighside Farms and worked with the Bank of Montreal in Shediac, Miramichi & Bathurst, NB; but it is the time he has spent with Paturel for which he is best known. He started out with the company as an accountant, before becoming president, and helping lead the company to a growth of $100 million in sales and 500 employees.
In addition to a lengthy list of volunteer activities in his hometown and home province, Bateman is also the past president of the Fisheries Council of Canada and the current president of both the NB Fish Packers Association and Canadian Lobster Promotion Association.
- Paul-Aimé Mallet – Builder – New Brunswick
Paul-Aime Mallet comes from a fishing family and he’s been involved in the inshore commercial fisheries of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence in New Brunswick for the past 50 years.
Between 1977 and 1987, he was the first president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union (MFU), Local 1 which included all inshore fish harvesters in north eastern NB.
He later became MFU Vice-President for a three-year term and has occupied the position of MFU Secretary-Treasurer for the past 10 years. He is highly regarded by his fellow union members for his integrity, knowledge and experience, passion for fishing, and the ability to connect with government officials.
When not engaged in fishing and attending to MFU business, Paul-Aime is active as a community volunteer on numerous committees. He is currently the President of the LeGoulet Harbour Authority.
- Francis Morrissey – Processor – Prince Edward Island
Francis Morrissey has been heavily involved on both the processing and harvesting sides of the fishery in PEI, perhaps most notably in his current role as the manager for the Tignish Fisheries Co-op/Royal Star Foods.
Morrissey is responsible for the day-to-day operations at Royal Star where 200 people work in peak season processing local lobster, snow crab, mackerel, herring, and blue fin tuna.
Additionally, Morrissey had held the position of Chair of the LFA 24 Lobster Advisory Board, helped organize a fund for extra protection on a lobster line funded by industry in the area, is the Vice-President of Western Gulf Fisherman’s Association and he is also a representative on the PEI Fisherman’s Association (PEIFA) Board of Directors.
He also fishes lobster in May and June in the early mornings, before going to work at the plant later in the day.
Morrissey recently suffered through having to deal with the unexpected passing of his wife, Cathy, at age 48. He continues to receive the support of his community and his family and many friends.
- Norman Peters – Mariner – Prince Edward Island
A native of North Rustico, PEI, Norman Peters is a familiar face in the fishery in the region — where he is commonly known as “The Bearded Skipper” — as a longtime commercial fisherman and industry advocate.
Peters, whose family has a lengthy lineage in the fishery, originally started fishing with his uncle in the mid-1960s, before buying his uncle’s boat and gear in 1967 — he continues to fish today. In 1975 he took things a step further when he started his own deep sea fishing business, which he ran until 2009.
He has also served as chairman of the highly successful Rustico Harbour Authority (formerly the Port Authority) for about 20 years, chairman of the North Shore Fishermen’s Association (covering the fishing area from Savage Harbour in the east to Malpeque in the west) since he was first elected in the early 1990’s, and a member of the Board of Directors of the PEI Fishermen’s Association.
He also serves in a wide variety of volunteer capacities in his region and his province, but insists that his main interest is always fishing and the inshore fishery and he remains passionate about the industry.
- Robert “Bobby” MacInnis – Builder – Prince Edward Island
The late Bobby MacInnis, who passed away in November 2011 at age 49 after a battle with cancer, was a highly regarded and long-time employee with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in PEI.
He started out with the Conservation and Protection branch in Summerside, PEI, in 1981 and served as a fishery officer and field supervisor in Summerside, Souris, Alberton, Charlottetown and Morell. He became PEI Area Licensing Manager in 1996, where he worked until becoming the PEI Area Chief for Conservation and Protection five years later. He was well liked and highly respected in the industry due to his dedication and his ability to communicate with harvesters through good times and bad.
In addition to serving on numerous committees locally and nationally, MacInnis was named Fishery Officer of the Year in 1996 and in 1998 was presented with the DFO Merit Award for his remarkable contribution to public service.
MacInnis is survived by his wife, Mary, and son, Jason. Robert Rochon, Acting Director of Conservation and Protection for the Gulf Region and Matt MacEwen, a fishery officer from the Conservation and Protection office in Charlottetown, accepted the award on behalf of the MacInnis family.
- Ross Petten – Mariner – Newfoundland & Labrador
The Mariner category recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution at sea in any marine field — this could include anyone from a captain or crewmember on anything from fishing boats to cargo ships to oil tankers to Coast Guard and all points in between.
This year’s inductee was well-known Port de Grave, NL native Ross Petten. Petten started fishing out of high school in 1972 with his uncle Lester Petten in the snow crab fishery, which was a new fishery at the time. He attended the Marine Institute to complete a fishing Masters Ticket obtaining his F.M. IV in 1981 and F.M. III in 1983.
In 1983 he purchased his own fishing enterprise, which included a 55’ boat, the Beulah Land. He fished using this boat until 1989 when he built a new 60’ boat the Atlantic Challenger, which he used until 1999 when he built a new steel boat. He decided to keep the same name Atlantic Challenger — it is the same fishing vessel that is used today by his two sons, Jason and Ian.
In 1984 Ross began serving on committees within the FFAW. He served as chairperson for the 3L fulltime crab committee up to 1994 and still serves today as a member of that committee. In 1997 until 2012 he served on the Shrimp Committee for 3L based boats. Ross has served on the Otter Trawl Committee since 1988. He has also served on a number of different DFO appointed committees over the years.
Ross fished in many areas throughout his fishing career. He went to Labrador to develop the snow crab fishery for 2J in 1986 with four other boats from Newfoundland. He spent three years there until there was enough crab to start a commercial fishery in 2J.
Ross has been a member of the Canadian Coast Guard Association (CCGA) since 1990. He currently serves as the Director for District 8 which encompasses Holyrood to Bonavista. He was just re-elected to serve for another term.
Ross has worked with the Marine Institute on developing fuel efficient trawls for the fishing industry.
In 1996, Ross was one of the founding shareholders of Atlantic Harvesting Group, a broadly held, fisherperson owned, self-financing, organization dedicated to the common interests of the harvesting sector of the Newfoundland fishing industry. It was this group that started a crab plant in St. Lawrence which was a new concept of fisherman selling to their own plant.
In 2000, Ross worked with CCFI to make a table for picking crab. The main idea was to get the under size crab back in the water as fast as possible. It worked well and DFO made it a part of the licence conditions for a crab licence a couple years later.
Ross was the first chairperson of the Bay Roberts Harbour Authority which was started in 1999. In 2004 he joined the Harbour Authority in his own hometown of Port de Grave and just recently took on the role of Interim Chair.
Ross has been an active volunteer, and in 2001 he received a certificate for International Year of Volunteers from Brian Tobin. He also received recognition from Prime Minister Jean Chretien for service to the Canadian Coast Guard.
Ross has been a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 32 in Bay Roberts since 1997. From 2005 to 2010 he served as President. From 2009 – 2011 he was the 2nd Vice President of the Newfoundland Command of the RCL and currently serving as 1st Vice President.
- Alec D. Moores – Processor – Newfoundland & Labrador
The Processor category recognizes individuals involved in the business of processing/developing marine products from fish and seafood to oil and gas, including everyone from frontline workers right up to company owners.
This year, the judges selected well-known businessman and processing industry pioneer Alec Moores, who was born in Blackhead, Conception Bay, NL on Dec. 30, 1919.
He started his working with the North Eastern Fish Industries in Harbour Grace, NL in 1947 after several years working with the Bank of Nova Scotia on Fogo Island, NL.
He continued working in the processing industry operating four plants at Harbour Grace, Port de Grave, Old Perlican and Fermeuse, during the peak of his career. Those facilities employed over 1,000 people and Moores was involved in purchasing product from some 2,500 fisherman at the time.
During his 70-year career he epitomized what it meant to be a pioneer, in innovator and an entrepreneur, and was known for his foresight and positive outlook on the industry even in tough times.
Moores’ son, David — who accepted the award along with his brother Doug on behalf of their father who was unable to attend — said Alec’s special interest had been marketing efforts for the inshore fishing sector. He noted that the squid fishery was one that had a special place in his father’s mind, and that Moores had had a direct hand in the 1960s in bringing the Japanese squid reel to Newfoundland — a piece of equipment that is used as part of the fishery even today.
The turbot fishery was another one that Moores helped pioneer by helping with international market development in places like Germany. Moores was also big into pelagic and was a pioneer in the use of the purse seine.
Moores was elected as president of the Newfoundland Fisheries Association on two occasions and was the director of the Fisheries Council of Canada.
Politically, he served as the mayor for Harbour Grace and also as the Member of the House of Assembly for the district of Harbour Grace.
He was awarded the Centennial Medal of Canada and was inducted in the Junior Achievement Newfoundland and Labrador Business Hall of Fame in 2002. He was also a member of the Memorial University Board of Regents.
- Henry Vokey – Builder – Newfoundland & Labrador
And finally, the Builder category recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to any of Atlantic Canada’s marine industries without having necessarily directly participated in them (including, but not limited to, industry advocates, organizers, service providers, marine builders, business people, media, government, etc.)
This year’s inductee was Henry Vokey of Trinity, NL, who is considered by many to be the greatest wooden boat builder in Newfoundland and Labrador and a true master of the art form.
Vokey was born in 1929 in Little Harbour, NL, a community that was resettled in the 1960s. He started building boats as a young man during his time in the community, and when he ended up in Trinity he made his passion his job by starting his own shipyard in an area known as Fishers Cove.
The Shipyard grew and at one time employed some 40 people, producing some truly amazing vessels. It is estimated that Vokey either built or oversaw the building of more than 1,000 boats over his career. The boats built at the shipyard went to many different places including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and parts of the United States.
The shipyard closed down in 1990, but Vokey, with boat building absolutely in his blood, continued working in his craft in the workshop next to his home, and even took to make models of vessels.
In 2009 he began construction on a 44-foot, two-masted sailing vessel. The process was documented at length by the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador, from the start of the project the launching of the vessel in July 2012.
The Leah Caroline is a traditional wooden schooner that not only demonstrated an art form, but also the skill of the artist himself.
Vokey is considered a master boat builder as well as an ambassador for the industry and the province’s culture as a whole. In 2007 he was presented with the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador for his efforts, and the following year he was made the first honourary lifetime member of the Wooden Boat Museum.
- Arthur (Art) McNeil – Builder – Atlantic Canada
The Builder category recognizes those individuals who have made significant contributions to any of Atlantic Canada’s marine industries without having necessarily directly participated in them (including, but not limited to, industry advocates, organizers, service providers, marine builders, business people, media, government, etc.)
McNeil began his career in the marine industry at an early age with a summer job at the Baddeck Marina in his home town of Baddeck, Nova Scotia. He soon developed a love of everything boating and quickly became very adept at repairing marine engines. This first job was followed by a certification in engine repair from Sir Sanford Flemming College in Ontario.
From there McNeil decided a move to the British Columbia coast was in order, where he worked using his expertise in marine engines at several marina operations. His talents were soon recognized by Mercury Marine and an appointment to that organization in Vancouver soon followed. Mercury Marine is where McNeil would spend the rest of his working career.
McNeil’s love of Baddeck and Cape Breton was too great for him to stay in British Columbia and he returned to Cape Breton in. Here, McNeil continued with Mercury Marine as the Business Development Manager, sales and service for the entire Atlantic Region. He also married his long time friend Rosanne. McNeil and Rosanne had two sons, Dennis and Donald.
Now firmly settled in his home town, McNeil was able to become fully involved with the marine industry in Atlantic Canada and would go on to become the most recognized, knowledgeable and respected industry representative in the region. His territory was the largest in the country for Mercury Marine. Also instrumental in the ongoing training and education of marine technicians, McNeil established, ran and taught at Mercury University, a marine engine training facility established at the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
McNeil was a tremendous supporter of his product, the industry, his dealers and customers and could always be found at a boat or commercial marine show, fishing tournaments, boating events, marine dealerships, wharfs and yacht clubs solving problems, supporting fundraising and industry events or just hanging around boats. His friendly manner and wealth of knowledge drew people to him.
McNeil was a member of the Atlantic Marine Trades Association, serving in several executive and committee positions, member of the Nova Scotia Yachting Association, member of the Bras d’Or Yacht Club, the Barnacles Diving team, St. Mark’s Masonic Lodge and the Baddeck Royal Canadian Legion.
McNeil unfortunately passed away at the early age of 55 while enjoying a sport he loved, scuba diving, on September 16, 2012 near his home in Baddeck. He will be greatly missed by local community and the hundreds of friends and business associates throughout Canada.
- Ronald Heighton – Mariner – Nova Scotia
The Mariner category recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution at sea in any marine field — this could include anyone from a captain or crewmember on anything from fishing boats to cargo ships to oil tankers to Coast Guard and all points in between.
Heighton has spent the bulk of his lifetime working on the water and also striving for the betterment of the fishing industry in the Maritimes.
Heighton has almost 50 years fishing experience fishing lobster, herring and he fished ground fish for over 30 years. He has a Fishing Master IV and has taken several courses in leadership and communication.
He currently serves as the president of the Gulf of Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board (GNSFP), an organization that examines broad based issues and common concerns in the Gulf area and one that looks at ways to improve the area’s fishery including the creation of programs.
Heighton has been the Vice-President for the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters (CCPFH) for the past three terms and is a long standing board member of the CCPFH. In addition to serving as president of GNSFP, he is also president of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association. For over 25 years he has participated in multiple Nova Scotia Gulf species advisory committees, and he is a member of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association and the Lobster Council of Canada
He has also volunteered to be part of the Technical Advisory Committee for the recently released Fishing Vessel Stability Simulator program, a program meant to enhance the safety of fish harvesters across Canada.
In addition to his direct fisheries work, Heighton also volunteers his time working with harbour authorities and he has done volunteer work for the Northumberland Fisheries Museum.
- Joe Anthony – Processor – Nova Scotia
The Processor category recognizes individuals involved in the business of processing/developing marine products from fish and seafood to oil and gas, including everyone from frontline workers right up to company owners.
The success story Anthony has written in the seafood processing business is one born of good timing, hard work and finding out that a dream he had as a young boy actually wasn’t for him. Hailing from Sydney Mines, NS, all Anthony ever wanted to be going back to his earliest days fishing on the salmon rivers was a Fishery Officer with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
In 1988 he went off to Holland College with that dream in his sights. He took the fisheries technology training at the college, a course aimed directly at the fish processing business, and started on his way. In the summers, he worked both with the science branch at DFO with a focus on lobsters — but he also worked with Clearwater in the snow crab processing sector. Snow crab wasn’t a big deal at the time, fetching upwards of 30 cents per pound for soft shell and 50 cents per pound for hardshell.
Landing a Fisheries Officer position at the time wasn’t easy, so while he entered job competitions and kept his name on the list, Anthony bided his time working in the processing sector.
The Victoria Co-Op Fisheries plant, which had never done lobster or crab, wanted to get into that business so Anthony spent five years with them running that operation. The manager of that plant, Lloyd Laney, bought a plant in Cheticamp, NS, and he went off and ran that operation for a couple of years.
Finally, the call came and Joe landed the job as a Fisheries Officer. But it turned out to be like the old adage: A dog can chase a car, but what will he do when he catches it?
After only six months in his dream job, Anthony decided it wasn’t for him and he quickly returned to his real love: seafood processing.
A relatively new but redundant groundfish plant went up for sale in Louisburg, NS. Anthony and Laney went to the provincial government and borrowed $900,000 at 9.25 per cent interest to buy the facility, which had been completely gutted, and went about setting up a processing operation focused on snow crab. In a stroke of good fortune, during that first year of operation, crab quotas off Louisburg tripled, the company took NL-based Quinlan’s as silent partners and the rest is history — the debt was paid off without ever missing a payment, and the operation continues to be a Cape Breton success story today.
Anthony said when he finally decided that processing was the life he wanted he had two simple goals: make the best of it and to love his job.
He did, and he does.
- RJ (Bob) Allain – Builder – New Brunswick
Recipient of several Deputy Minister Commendation Awards including the Canadian Government’s Prestigious Head of the Public Service Award for values and ethics, Bob Allain has been intimately involved in many of Atlantic Canada’s most challenging fisheries issues dating back to the early 1980’s.
He has consulted internationally for the Canadian International Development Agency, the (former) International Centre for Ocean Development, the World Bank, and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Bob currently heads up a consultancy company in Dieppe, New Brunswick. OceanIQ Management Services (OMS Inc) offers managerial services to the natural resources sector, especially the fishing industry.
- Shelton Barlow – Mariner – Prince Edward Island
Shelton, from Howards Cove, PEI started fishing in 1968. After a short career as a deck hand, he decided he wanted his own business. So in 1970, he made the bold move and purchased an enterprise. Shelton recalls that it cost about $2,000 back then.
Shelton has been all about keeping the industry viable and sustainable for all generations. Shelton began serving the fisheries through volunteerism shortly after buying his first membership to the Prince County Fisherman’s Association, first serving on the board of Directors then taking on the President’s role in the 1980’s.
While serving in these roles, he worked hard at developing a co-management plan to curb poaching in Lobster Fishing Areas 24 and 25.
Shelton worked on the lobster buyback program and also serves as Vice President of the EFF and serves on the Lobster and Groundfish Advisory Boards.
- Francis Morrisey – Processor – Prince Edward Island
From Tignish, PEI, Francis could have been nominated in all three of the Hall of Fame categories. He’s in the production side of the business — he’s a full-time lobster fisherman and he’s definitely an industry builder.
Francis manages Royal Star Foods Ltd, the largest Atlantic lobster processor on Prince Edward Island.
The brand, Star of the Sea, is a well-respected, world-renowned brand and Francis is totally dedicated to keeping it that way.
He is tireless and respected and in a unique position to make the lobster industry a profitable business for everyone in it.
- Marcel O’Brien – Mariner – Newfoundland & Labrador
Marcel O’Brien of L’Anse au Loup has had a long and successful career as a fish harvester and innovator particularly in the development of the Labrador fishing industry.
A fisherman in his early years with his older brother Eric, Marcel began his professional career as a marine diesel mechanical engineer with Puddister’s Trading. After graduation from the College of Fisheries in St. John’s in the early 1970s, he went to work with Puddister’s as an engineer on various ferries on the Strait of Belle Isle. This career lasted a few years but the call of the fishery was too strong.
He bought a 55-foot boat in 1979 and embarked on a 35-year career. His first year fishing in 1979 was a gillnetting season, fishing turbot out of St. Anthony and cod from Black Tickle and Smokey, but the prospects were far greater in a newly developing otter trawl fishery in the Gulf. Marcel lobbied government tirelessly and was successful in obtaining an otter trawl license in 1980. This was the first otter trawl license issued and fished by a Labrador-based fisher. Marcel added to his suite of licenses later when he obtained a Gulf shrimp license and became the first inshore shrimp harvester from Labrador fishing out of Port aux Choix.
Marcel was front and centre in the formation of the Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Company and was one of the founding directors and helped guide the company for many years. He served as the Company’s President from 1983-1986 and is still one of only two Labrador fishermen ever to serve as President of the Labrador Shrimp Company.
Marcel was appointed Harbour Master of L’anse au Loup in the early 1980s by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and by 1990 saw the DFO Small Craft Harbours initiative of establishing Harbour Authorities as a positive development for his home port. He took the initiative to set up a Harbour Authority in L’anse au Loup, the first of its kind in Labrador and served as the Harbour Authority’s President for 20 years. In addition to the L’Anse au Loup Harbour Authority, Marcel served as the Chairman of the L’anse au Loup Fishermen’s Committee for nearly 15 years.
After completing his Fishing Masters Class 2 in the late 1990s Marcel began instructing for the Marine Institute School of Fisheries as a FM 4 and 3 instructor and continues to do so each year. He has served as the Labrador District Director for the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and served many years as first vice-president of that organization.
- Edgar Simmons – Processor – Newfoundland & Labrador
Edgar Simmons was born and raised in Hickman’s Harbour, Trinity Bay. Edgar came from a large family of 12, has seen some difficult times growing up and was a very quiet and shy individual. He started fishing with his father at the age of 14 during the summer and evenings and at the age of 16 he left school to fish full time.
Edgar has owned and operated three fishing enterprises, as well as operated the successful fish processing business Golden Shell Fisheries Ltd. Edgar is a man that likes to keep to himself and does not like to be in the spotlight. He is a very kind, generous and determined person who will fight for what is right.
Edgar has gone through some difficult times in the industry over the years, but his determination has seen him through. All of the licences that the business has obtained were purchased from other plants, with not one given to him by the government. Edgar takes much pride in the fact that he has never received any government assistance for his business and has stood on his own for the past 26 years. At one time, he owned two other fish plants and employed over 400 workers across the province. Today his plant is a multi-species operation, with the exception of shrimp. The business is the largest on Random Island and is a great help to the community.
- Vallance (Val) Cull – Builder – Newfoundland & Labrador
Vallance Cull was born in 1955 in the town of St. Anthony and was raised in the small fishing town of Great Brehat on the Northern Peninsula in a family of 12.
He moved to St. Anthony as a young boy with his family in 1968 where he went to school and started work at the age of 13 at the local fish plant cutting out cod tongues. In the summer of 1972 he went fishing on the Labrador coast on the M.V. Wavey Gay with his father. He always had a great passion for boats. He later met a girl (Jane Hynes) from Port Au Choix, settled and was married and had two daughters, Nadine and Natrisha. There he began working around boat yards with his brother-in-law and father-in-law and his passion to build and improve fishing vessels grew. He started his own company, Northern Boat Building and Repair Ltd., in 1991 and in 1996 leased the Marine Service Centre in Flowers Cove, NL and later that year the Marine Centre in Port Saunders, NL.
In 1999 he purchased the Marine Service Centre in Port Saunders. He then went from wooden boat repair to fibreglass, where he started cutting the vessels and making them larger. His company has employed 32 people for 6-12 month spans for the past 25 years.
He has helped the town grow by employing people who otherwise would have to leave the region for work. He has also helped surrounding businesses by purchasing all his of building supplies locally.
The Marine Service Centre boat yard itself accommodates approximately 90 boats yearly for winter storage and 200 boats for regular yearly maintenance and CSI inspections. Fishing vessels come from all over Canada and as far as the U.S. for his expertise, vessel extensions and maintenance, so the spin offs for the Tri-Town area is great for the local economy.
At the age of 59, he is looking forward to what the future will bring and the next big endeavour. He believes with proper management in the fishery there will always be a fishery long after he is gone.
- Eugene O’Leary – Mariner – Nova Scotia
Eugene O’Leary is an inshore small boat fisherman from Whitehead, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. Mr. O’Leary started getting involved in the politics of the commercial fishery in 1989 and has been active ever since. Early on, he realized that being present at a committee table makes a difference and participation is very important — so he has always made a point of being involved with fisheries-related issues in his community, region and province. Mr. O’Leary has been instrumental in a leadership role at the Guysborough County Inshore Fishermen’s Association — helping area fishermen achieve their mandate of provincial and federal representation in the industry, initiating marine and social science research, providing industry training, as well as marketing and quality assurance in the lobster industry and community-based management of rural community resources. Over the years, he has served on and been instrumental in the growth of a number of fisheries-related organizations, including the Guysborough County Inshore Fishermen’s Association, Lobster Council of Canada, Fisherman and Scientists Research Society, Nova Scotia/New Brunswick Lobster Eco-certification Society, the panel supporting the Doelle-Lahey report on Aquaculture, Eastern Fishermen’s Federation, Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation, C-NSOPB — Fisheries Action Committee for Oil and Gas and the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council. Mr. O’Leary and his wife Marjorie are the proud parents of two adult daughters.
- Adlai Cunningham – Processor – Nova Scotia
Adlai Cunningham of Clark’s Harbour, Nova Scotia, started his career Irish Mossing in the summer and as a hired hand for lobster fisherman during the winter. Mr. Cunningham went on to be a crewmember on longline vessels for five years and then spent five years on an otter trawler. He started thinking about fish processing and quality during his early fishing days, which lead him to pursue a course at the College of Fisheries in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1979. This course only furthered his interest in processing and finally, in 1983, Mr. Cunningham had an opportunity to lease a small plant. He found a partner after years of trying and started filleting groundfish in his 900 sq. ft., facility and shipping whole fish to the U.S. fresh market. Two years later, Mr. Cunningham moved into saltfish processing and within two years it became his primary focus. His company expanded gradually every year with the idea that staying totally focused on one process would yield better dividends than attempting too much and not doing it well. Through understanding the fish processing business thoroughly, Mr. Cunningham has been able to stay on top of an old, but constantly evolving industry, with no critical mass close to his shores. Today, his company, Sea Star, is the largest salt fish processor and exporter in Atlantic Canada with a workforce of approximately 80 people. Over the years, he has served on numerous advisory committees and boards involved with the fishery, including the Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association, Seafood Producers Association of Nova Scotia, Fisheries Council of Canada, Gulf of Maine Advisory Committee, Scotia Fundy Advisory Committee and Fisheries Resources Conservation Council.
- Stanley Greenwood – Builder – Nova Scotia
Stanley Arthur Greenwood of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia was born on March 6, 1937 and passed away on Feb. 6, 2012. Mr. Greenwood’s name has become synonymous with the boatbuilding industry in Nova Scotia. Over his lifetime, ‘Chainsaw Stan’, as he was known by many, built more than 1,000 ‘Cape Islander’ boats, over 400 of them from wood. He learned the ropes of the longitudinal planking style so common to the Cape Island vessels in 1954 at his Uncle Joseph Greenwood’s Boatshop in Shag Harbour. During the evenings, he built small boats at his Atwood’s Brook home until 1965. He later moved to Centreville, Cape Sable Island and purchased a boatshop from Ernest Atkinson of Clark’s Harbour. Mr. Greenwood’s family said his boatbuilding provided a legacy, not just a livelihood. He has been called a legend and an innovator, especially in being the first to cut a typical Cape Islander in at least eight pieces to expand its width, height and length, creating a new model to be used by other boatbuilders. He incorporated and developed many usable and innovative design advantages in fibreglass boatbuilding as well. As a way of preserving the past, Stanley’s last boat was a half-size 20-foot wooden boat, completed in 2010. Mr. Greenwood’s generous spirit gave a boost to the Shelburne County economy for many years, with boats shipped all over Eastern Canada and the U.S. seaboard. But Chainsaw Stan’s legacy might be best summed up in a poem submitted by his family:
Beginning in wood,
skilled with hammer and claw,
famous for work with a chainsaw.
He was one-of-a-kind,
creating in fibreglass his own design.
A deep gratitude we owe,
Family, fishermen, boatbuilders and so.
Not only locals made that claim,
But ports in Canada, Massachusetts and Maine.
- Walter Bruce – Mariner – Prince Edward Island
Walter Bruce, a fisherman for 56 years and captain for 54, has made an incredible impact both in his local community in Eastern Prince Edward Island and in the larger P.E.I. lobster and tuna fishing community.
Early in life, Walter went to Marine School and achieved his 350-tonne ticket, Master Home Trade and Second Mate Unlimited Home Trade. His list of contributions to the fishing community is lengthy. In addition to being a lobster fisherman for the better part of his life, Walter has been a tuna charter boat captain since 1969 and is presently involved as a captain and as a founder of the tuna hook and release, charter fishery in P.E.I. as well as co-owner of Bruce’s Tuna Charters, the longest running tuna chartering outfit in Canada. Walter’s efforts have assisted in developing P.E.I. as a destination for international tuna tourism.
He was chair of the P.E.I. Tuna Committee and was the industry representative for over 10 years. He was also the Canadian Commissioner for the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT).
Walter has represented his harbour and his province at various levels, serving as Secretary of the Eastern Kings Fishermen’s Association (1960), Vice-Chair of the Eastern Fishermen’s Federation for three years (1980s), President of the PEIFA (1970s, 1980s), President of the P.E.I. Tuna Fishermen’s Association (1970s, 1980s), President of the North Lake Fish Coop (1990s) and Director of the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council for six years (2000s).
Walter has shown his dedication to the Eastern P.E.I. community both in terms of community development and athletics. He served on the board of directors for the Souris Hospital in the 1970s, successfully lobbying for a new hospital. He was a minor hockey coach (1970s, 1980s), and a member of the Old Timers hockey team (1977-2008).
He was the Director of the Eastern Kings Development Corp. in the 1990s, Director of Eastern Ventures and a Tug-O-War coach in the 1990s. Walter was a Deacon of Kingsboro Baptist Church (2000s) and has also served as a volunteer fireman in South Lake. He is currently member of EKFA, PEIFA, and P.E.I. Tuna Charters Association. He is also Vice-President of Souris Credit Union and was a Director for eight years.
- Normand LeBlanc – Processor – New Brunswick
Normand or Norm as he is known was born in Cap Pele New Brunswick to Napoleon and Clara Leblanc.
Growing up he worked with his father in his processing plant on the Cocagne Bay.
He started high school at Louie J. Robichaud High School in Shediac but finished high school and graduated from Moncton High School. From high school he attended Royal Military College Saint-Jean in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. After completing one year he went to Dalhousie University in Halifax.
An avid hockey player all through his youth, he played high school hockey and played on the roster of the Royal Military College. When he got to Dalhousie University, he was told that he wasn’t eligible to play for the University and that he had to sit out a year. So he played for the Dartmouth Fuel Kids — a local junior club. There his future banker was his manager. After one year, he went to UNB to finish his BBA in 1990.
After university he joined Dow Chemical and was trained as a salesman in Sarnia, Ontario and subsequently was placed in Montreal Quebec. After a year with Dow Chemical, he returned home where he worked with his father at Seadeli. He also held the job of town manager for Cap Pele for some time.
In 1994, he started a numbered company and Captain Dan’s Bar and Grill. There he purchased lobster and crab from a couple of fisherman and sold his product in a fish market and at a farmers’ market. The restaurant was expanded with the second floor and the processing area increased. With the business growing, a processing storage facility was purchased and operated in the Industrial Park in Bouctouche.
In 1997, Norm became the owner of Dieppe Fitness Centre with two locations, one in Dieppe and the second location in Cap Pele. With his cousin Pierre, they took over a snow crab plant in Cheticamp, N.S.
In 2001, the J & K Fisheries 2001 Limited facility at Lismore was purchased to shore up supply from both the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia and the Northumberland Strait. Also in 2001, the facility at Cap Lumiere became available. With financing in place, he became the owner and operator of the multi-use facility.
In 2008, he purchased Paul Barnett Sea Foods in Miami, Florida, importing seafood from various parts of the world and marketing in most parts of the U.S. The staff stayed and gave Captain Dan’s Inc. more customers in the Florida area and throughout the U.S.
From 2009 until present day, Norm made an effort to increase the marketing side of the business by investing in a corporate office in Dieppe N.B. The business not only marketed products processed by his own plant but actively purchased product from other processors and marketed it through Captain Dan’s Inc. In 2012, he sold his interest in Cheticamp and sold the assets in J&K Fisheries (2001) Limited to concentrate more on marketing and production.
- Klaus Sonnenberg – Builder – New Brunswick
Born in Germany, Klaus came to Canada with his parents when he was six. He grew up in British Columbia and later earned a degree in zoology from the University of Idaho. His began his first career as a park naturalist with Parks Canada in Cape Breton. It was there that Klaus had an opportunity to observe the fishing industry closely because one of his best friends was a fisherman.
Attracted to the industry at various levels, Klaus became a fisheries officer in the late 1970s and wound up on Grand Manan. He married Melanie Ells from Grand Manan in 1982 and made the island in southwest New Brunswick his home.
Klaus was instrumental in organizing Grand Manan fishermen in the early 1980s after the Department of Fisheries and Oceans cancelled Atlantic coast scallop licenses for local fishermen. One of the first projects of the fledging association was convincing the Department to establish a scallop closure around the island that still exists today.
In the mid-1980s, funding was available from the province for a marine travelift and boat yard. Despite some scepticism from local fishermen about whether it would be used, Klaus convinced the Board to proceed. The Fundy Marine Service Centre continues to be operated by the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association and is at capacity for much of the year. It remains one of the organization’s biggest success stories.
With the formation of a herring weir sector within the GMFA, Klaus led the organization to seek funding to build net mending and storage buildings, as well as purchase trucks with maulers for members’ use. He also organized a program to sell surplus large herring from the weirs to Russian factory ships from 1988-1993.
Over the years, Klaus represented the GMFA at industry meetings ranging from species specific (lobster, scallop, herring, and groundfish) to Transport Canada, to bi-lateral meetings with the United States regarding management of the disputed waters off Grand Manan (The Grey Zone).
He was a board member of the Eastern Fishermen’s Federation from 1982-2014 and for the better part of two decades served as treasurer. On the island, Klaus could frequently be found having a conversation about the fishery in local coffee shops or at the grocery store. While accomplishments in the larger fishing community are noteworthy and important, it is often in the smaller, local moments that strong organizations are built.
Until his unexpected death in 2014, Klaus continued to represent the organization at industry meetings and worked locally with island fishermen.
- Rufus Genge – Mariner – Newfoundland & Labrador
The Genge family has been harvesting the waters off Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula for 200 years and Anchor Point fisherman Rufus Genge has been on the water for 70 of those. Rufus was born in Flower’s Cove in 1937. His father and grandfather were fishermen – fishing was in Rufus’ blood. In fact, it was with his grandfather Field in Cooke’s Harbour that Rufus started fishing full-time at age 10.
The young Genge cut his teeth on the codtrap fishery. But always the entrepreneur, Rufus was anxious to start fishing on his own and acquired his first boat, a punt or rodney, and built his own stage at age 17. Shortly after marrying his lovely wife Sophia, Rufus continued to expand his fishing enterprise. He later moved from a trapskiff to a speedboat and would fish out of Cooke’s Harbour in June and July and would then travel to Belle Isle and fish there from August to October. He also fished out of Battle Harbour, Labrador for several years.
Rufus was always looking to the future and analyzing how he could grow as a fisherman. This culminated in 1972 when he had the Cape Onion built – a 52-foot longliner – one of the first on the Northern Peninsula. Rufus’s oldest son Ted, who was fishing with his father at this time, said this was a major step forward. The new vessel allowed them to fish more species and for longer periods of time. But Rufus did not stop there. In 1977, he sold the Cape Onion and built the 65-foot Cape Ray to facilitate dragging. And then, in 1987, the elder Genge upgraded his enterprise again when he built another 65-foot dragger, the Tracey Martina.
The fishing industry is constantly changing and part of Rufus Genge’s legacy was the foresight to recognize the changes, adapt to them and succeed in a very challenging occupation. His legacy in the fishery of Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula also lives on through his family – his sons Ted and Bruce, as well as his grandsons Rodney and Raymond, all operate successful, growing fishing enterprises of their own. Speaking of growth, Rufus was actively involved when the Genge family built the state-of-the-art 65-foot fishing vessel KMKA Voyager in 2006. Most recently, in 2016, the elder Genge witnessed the latest addition to the family fleet, when the 70-foot KMKA Voyager 1 slipped into waters from the shipyard in Englee. Rufus Genge’s fishing legacy is destined to live on for many years to come.
- Patrick Quinlan – Processor – Newfoundland & Labrador
Pat Quinlan was born in Red Head Cove in November, 1929 – the youngest of seven children in the family of Patrick and Alice Quinlan. Throughout Pat’s life, he received many accolades and awards within the local community, however, Pat is not a person who seeks accolades. It is as owner, manager, president and CEO of Quinlan Brothers Limited that Pat leaves his mark on the fishing industry of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Living next to the prolific fishing grounds of the North Atlantic, he and his brother, Maurice, decided to stake their claim at Bay de Verde. In 1954, they bought J F O’Neil Ltd. – an enterprise consisting of a general store and the buying and selling of dried and salt bulk cod. Here Quinlan Brothers Limited began its 62 years in the seafood business. It was with the swing of a pick axe at the walls of stone that surrounded them that Pat and Maurice carved and etched out the first foundations of a small building to produce cod at Bay de Verde.
The business grew from there, expanding into fresh and frozen fish production and then to marketing their products under the “Q” brand that is so well recognized today. Pat was the first to introduce and assist the local fishermen to move into larger long-liners when he brought the first such vessel to Bay de Verde in 1964. Many more followed and the product range expanded to include all the species harvested by inshore fishers. During the late 1960s and early 70s, the cod resource declined sharply and Quinlan Brothers then entered the snow crab business.
The learning curve was steep and before long he and Maurice had persevered to build a crab plant and market a crab product that was second to none. Following the collapse of the groundfish industry in the early 1990s, Quinlan’s became the first to venture into the shrimp business on the north east coast of the island by acquiring a plant from Denmark and establishing it at home.
Quinlan Brothers Limited was buying and processing shrimp just as the resource was made available to the inshore fishery in 1997. Pat Quinlan does not know the meaning of “it can’t be done.” Negativity is nowhere in his character. He was always the most industrious and energetic person in the fishery. He knew everybody in the plant as well as every fishermen and he spoke to them all as equals. He respected their hard work and spent a lifetime re-investing everything back into the fishery. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed everything Pat built at Bay de Verde on April 11, 2016. The fire took with it years of hard labour and a host of memories.
But true to who Pat is – a new larger modern plant is well on its way to replacing it all – it is a monument to Pat and all those who have worked with him. Bay de Verde will always have a special place in the heart of the most industrious person ever in the history of the Newfoundland fishery.
- Frederick Jackson – Builder – Newfoundland & Labrador
Frederick Jackson was born on January 26, 1937 in the small community of Whiteway, Trinity Bay. He is husband to Beulah Cooper and a proud father of five children. Frederick or Fred is now known as Whiteway’s boat builder to many, but things didn’t start that way.
From railway tracks to mink ranching and fishing, Fred did it all and it carried him through the 1950s and 60s. In 1971, he took a new journey and had a boat built for him to fish – a 52-foot, small inshore dragger. In September of 1976, Fred sold this boat to build another for himself on his own.
In his backyard, Fred built a 34′ 11″ wooden boat and only used her one summer on the water. Once again, he sold that boat and decided to pursue a different career as a full-time boat builder.
With a demand in the area for fishermen wanting new boats, Fred thought, “why not give it a try?” With the second boat built in his backyard, he then moved to the current Jackson’s Boatyard location in 1978.
Jackson’s Boatyard started with three employees and quickly went up to six. As the years went on, the Jackson’s Boatyard staff grew, with as many as 42 employees working at one point.
Jackson’s Boatyard specializes in wooden to fibreglass fishing vessels. From 1977 to the early 1990s, wooden boats were built, then wooden boats fibreglassed over. In 2001 fibreglass panels were used to build vessels.
Jackson’s Boatyard symbols can be found on many boats around the Island of Newfoundland and the Labrador Coast, ranging from 28 to 65 feet in length.
While Fred has not been an active boat builder since 2006, now, just shy of turning 79-years-old, he still makes daily trips to the yard to watch and inspect the ongoing boat construction.
- Leonard LeBlanc – Mariner – Nova Scotia
Leonard Leblanc, a proud Acadian, is the son of Hubert Leblanc and Marie Hellen Poirier from Cheticamp, Nova Scotia — one of 19 siblings. Leonard’s father was a fisherman before and after the Second World War, where he received two medals for bravery. Leonard followed in his father’s footsteps and has been fishing for the past 33 years.
He started out as a deckhand, where he learned from his father-in-law the value of the resource. After buying his own licence, Leonard started to realize that his area was lacking representation with DFO and other different government departments.
He took it upon himself to sit down with senior and young fishermen to discuss forming their own fishermen’s association. As a collective voice, they separated the shoreline to allow room for the fixed gear inshore fishermen to set their longline gear without being harassed by the mobile fleet. This was his first win.
Leonard provided much more advocacy after that, becoming a real voice for area fishermen.
He was the first and only president of the Cheticamp and Area Fishermen’s Association, now the Gulf Nova Scotia Fishermen’s Coalition (1986-present). He is a member of the board of the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia (2009-present), the President of the Gulf Nova Scotia Crab Co. Ltd (1995-present), Past President and current Secretary of the Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board (1997-present), Past President of the Lobster Council of Canada (2011-2013), executive member of the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Lobster Eco-Certification Society (2014-present) and advisor to the Snow Crab Solidarity Fund Association (1997-2014), helping local plant workers.
Leonard’s extensive knowledge of the fishery and the scientific work undertaken by the organizations he has led has attracted the attention of post-graduate (Masters) and doctoral (PhD) students from across Canada and even France.
He has long championed issues of importance to the inshore fishery of his area and throughout the Maritime provinces. When the concept of resource sustainability was still relatively new to the industry, he organized and chaired a national conference on sustainable seafood at Cheticamp in 2010 with 75 participants from across Canada in attendance. He was among the early voices that called for Marine Stewardship Council certification of the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster fishery.
During his term as the first President of the Lobster Council of Canada, he helped shape the Council’s strategic agenda and business plan. He also worked tirelessly with ministers and senior officials of the DFO to implement new lobster conservation measures for the LFA 26 B North lobster fishery. On several occasions, his organization sponsored joint lobster science projects with DFO and other departments and universities that provided the necessary knowledge and data needed to implement additional conservation-based regulations and policies.
Now retired from fishing, Leonard plans on devoting more time to fisheries management issues and promotion of a safer fishing industry.
- Gilles Theriault – Builder – Nova Scotia
Gilles Theriault was born and raised in the Acadian community of Baie Sainte-Marie, in the village of Meteghan River, Nova Scotia. During his teenage years, he began working part-time at A. F. Theriault & Son Ltd. doing a variety of labour jobs, then full-time as a certified machinist in 1991.
After working for a few years in this trade, he was promoted to manage the company’s propeller shop, where propellers are sold and repaired. In 2006, he became a certified boatbuilder.
The business, A. F. Theriault & Son Ltd., was founded in 1938 by his grandfather, Gus Theriault. Gilles is a third-generation Theriault who manages the company’s day-to-day operations with his cousin, David. He also oversees activities at AFT Sawmill with his other cousin, John. His father, Arthur and his uncles, Ernest and Russell (deceased), retired a few years ago. One uncle, Larry, is still active in the business.
Gilles also plays an active part in promoting the company.
He attends trade shows and prepares promotional materials showcasing the boat building and repair facilities available at A. F. Theriault & Son. The enterprise continues to attract local, national and international clients.
Over the years, Gilles has acquired more administrative responsibilities. He worked as a foreman, as an assistant superintendent under Everett Titus and is now General Manager, as well as a company shareholder. Gilles takes much pride in operating one of the oldest and most respected shipyards in the Maritimes — a shipyard that fabricates a broad range of vessels, from fishing boats to ferries to fire boats.
Gilles also prides himself in giving A. F. Theriault clients the great customer service that they deserve as well as delivering the required specification, whether it be boat repair or new build. He also has a keen interest in advanced technologies in the marine industry. Furthermore, employee education and training, safety and innovation in the workplace are all things he values very much — a tireless champion with a vision to continually develop the company into the best it can be.
A. F. Theriault has strong community ties and Gilles, as a company representative, has played a leadership role in several organizations, including Clare Minor Hockey and the Festival Acadien de Clare, to name a few. He is also a director of the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association.
Gilles enjoys family life, hockey, hunting, horseback riding and spending summer days at the lake with family and friends. He is married to Christine and they have one son, Regis.
- Edgar Samson – Processor – Nova Scotia
As an Acadian from Petit De Gras, Nova Scotia, Edgar E. Samson attended and completed his high school diploma at Isle Madame District High School. Upon graduating, he attended the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology in Halifax, Nova Scotia to become an electrician. After gaining experience working in the electrical trade and seeing the opportunities around him, Edgar, as an entrepreneur at heart, envisioned opening and operating his own company.
In the spring of 1984, Edgar, along with partners John F. Samson and Brian Samson, established Premium Seafoods Ltd., a lobster brokerage business in Arichat, Nova Scotia. From there, in the late 80s and early 1990s, they built and operated a groundfish processing operation, packing both fresh and frozen products for various markets.
With groundfish stocks in the decline, they knew they had to diversify. In 2000, they acquired the Petit de Gras co-operative site, that they turned into a snow crab
processing facility that is still in operation today, producing a product of high quality that is well established and recognized in the marketplace.
Edgar’s most recent endeavour has been the construction of a state-of-the-art shrimp processing facility which is now in operation. This facility processes millions of pounds of shrimp annually and employs upwards to 70 people from the local area.
Over the last 33 years, Premium Seafoods Ltd. has experienced several expansions and continues to grow. Edgar is presently a co-owner/director of several companies, which employ over 200 people in rural Cape Breton.
The Premium Seafoods Group today consists of six companies; all specializing in seafood harvesting, processing, brokering and logistics.
Edgar has traveled extensively throughout the world for business and gained lifelong experiences. He has attended various international seafood shows in such places as Boston, Seattle, Dubai, Iceland, the United Kingdom and China.
Edgar is a community-based business man and takes great pride in growing his business, as well as the community itself.
Edgar Samson is involved in several community organizations. He was President of the Petit De Gras Village Square, Board Member of the Roc Society, Board Member of Centre La Picasse and he was also Vice-President of the Conseil de developpement economique de la Nouvelle-Ecosse. He is currently a Board member of the Arichat Recreation Commission. Edgar received an Honorary Doctorate in Community Affairs from L’Universite Sainte-Anne in 2004.
Edgar Samson is married to Laurie Acton Samson and they have two daughters, Renee and Michelle.
- Egbert Boertien – Mariner – Prince Edward Island
Egbert (Bert) Boertien immigrated to Canada from Holland in 1950, joining his brother Stoffer Boertien.
In 1953, Bert parked his tractor, left farming and went to sea. A fisherman named MacDonald operated a lobster vessel and offered him a job as a crewman. Despite having never been on the ocean except for crossing the Atlantic to come to P.E.I., Bert didn’t hesitate and without a second thought, he was a crewman on a lobster boat.
A year later, Captain MacDonald became skipper of a dragger owned by Eastern Fisheries out of Souris and he must have liked Bert’s work because he immediately asked the young Dutchman to join him on the larger vessel.
That was Bert’s first experience as a dragger fisherman and he liked it, so much, in fact, he stayed in that fishery for many years to come.
In 1959, Bert saved enough money to realize another big dream, the purchase of his own dragger. The MV North Bay was a 65-foot vessel and served Bert well for nearly a decade. He also operated a second vessel, the Polarfish, at the same time he owned the North Bay and soon began expanding his fleet.
He acquired the first steel stern trawler to ever fish out of Souris, the Howe Bay — a 92-foot vessel built in 1964.
In 1970, he bought a new and bigger vessel, the Souris IV. He fished the Souris IV for a few years, but another opportunity came along and Bert decided to change his status. Usen Fisheries was the big fish company in Souris at the time and as a vertically integrated company, Usen owned its own fleet of draggers. Usen added the first mid-water trawler to its Souris fleet in 1973 and asked Bert if he would be first mate on the MV Winchester. Bert liked the challenge of mid-distance trawling and accepted. Soon afterwards, he became a captain with the Usen fleet.
Years later, he decided to go back to the simpler, inshore fishery and purchased the St. Charles II, a 52-foot dragger, from which he could make shorter fishing trips from Souris Harbour.
He retired from the fishery at age 59 due to a serious back injury, but that did not end his involvement with the fishery. Bert taught at Holland College and was involved with the UMF, the Atlantic Groundfish Advisory Committee, the Eastern Fishermen’s Federation, the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association and the Eastern Kings Fishermen’s Association. He was the leader in building the ice plant in Souris, as well as the travel lift and the marina for pleasure boats.
Sadly, 86-year-old Boertien, passed away on January 2, 2018. The P.E.I. fishing industry misses his presence and leadership.
- Russel Jacob – Processor – New Brunswick
Russel Jacob is the President and Owner of Westmorland Fisheries Ltd., a lobster processing company founded in 1975. The company primarily produces frozen lobster products under the Rocky Point brand for customers in North America, Europe and Asia.
He was born on February 8, 1974 and is a graduate of Holland College’s Program in Aquaculture and Technology in Prince Edward Island. From 1998 to 2005, he held various positions with Orion International Inc. as a seafood processing technician in processing plants all over the Maritimes, Quebec, Greenland, Thailand, China and Denmark, acquiring valuable technical and operational expertise in the industry.
Prior to that, in 2005, he worked for North Nova Seafoods, a lobster, crab and herring processor in Pictou, Nova Scotia. In 2006, prior to joining WFL, he worked as Production Manager for Madelimer in Grande-Entrée, Ile-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec. He joined Westmorland Fisheries Inc. as Production Supervisor and in 2010, acquired the company after the passing of long-time owner Yvon Gaudet.
Today, he directs the company’s sales, operations and procurement, in addition to setting the overall strategic direction for the company.
In 2016, the company embarked on a $10-million expansion and modernization to position the firm as a world leader in lobster processing. The project involved a significant investment in new technology and equipment to produce new lobster products and improve productivity and efficiency. Westmorland has also been bolstering its sales team in recent years with the acquisition of Trico Seafood and the opening of a sales office in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 2017, Westmorland was recognized as one of the Top 25 Seafood Suppliers in North America by SeafoodSource.
He and his wife Véronique reside in their hometown of Cap-Pelé, New Brunswick with their three children: Zachary (11), Xavier (9) and Rubie (6).
- Roger Sark – Builder – Prince Edward Island
As a Mi’kmaq growing up on the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaq Nation, Nova Scotia, Roger Sark learned early from community elders and harvesters of the cultural importance of fish, game and land to the Mi’kmaq Nation people.
He would assist his uncle in winter harvesting eels and selling them door to door at different Mi’kmaq communities from Paqtnkek to Eskasoni. During the spring and summer, they fished and raked blueberries and during the fall they would hunt, cut and sell firewood. They would also make Christmas wreaths to sell at shopping mall parking lots from Antigonish to Halifax.
After graduating from Antigonish East High School, Roger was accepted to UPEI where he graduated with an economics major. In 1992, he started work for the Abegweit First Nation, Prince Edward Island, where he started as a labourer, bus driver, receptionist and then in 1994 he became the Commercial Fishery Coordinator for the communities comprising Abegweit.
Roger initiated and administered the community’s two fishing fleets, including lobster, rock crab and herring. After the Marshall decision, eight additional fleets were added and presently, Roger administers 10 fleets fishing lobster, snow crab, rock crab, spider crab, mackerel, Bluefin tuna, cod, halibut, eels, clams, oysters and silverside, employing more than 40 community members.
In 2003, Roger completed an advanced post-graduate diploma as a computer programmer/program analysist and an accounting diploma from Holland College and later he finished a Commercial Fishery Enterprise Management program with NSCC.
Roger’s entrepreneurial spirit and his commitment to Mi’kmaq Treaty Rights to access fish, game and land saw him start up various businesses providing new training and employment opportunities for his community, including Rocky Point Harbour View Cottages (2001), Abegweit Software (2004), Redstone Auto & Marine (2010), Redstone Seafood (2010), Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery (2012) and Abegweit Conservation Society (2015).
Over the past seven years, Roger was principal in creating a total of 48 new full-time and seasonal jobs for his community. Roger is currently involved in protection, enhancement and aquaculture projects that will provide additional long-term jobs.
Roger is very proud to sit on various committees to protect and enhance Mi’kmaq Treaty Rights, including the Assembly of First Nations National Fishery Committee. Roger was also awarded the Fishery Business Person of the Year in 2016 by the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat.
Roger currently resides on the Rocky Point Reserve on Prince Edward Island. He enjoys family times with his wife Deanna and has five children; Jake, Kamryn, Michael, and Janine Bernard and Greg Bernard both of Paqtnkek.
- Cecil Pitcher — Mariner — Newfoundland and Labrador
Cecil Pitcher was born in 1931, in the small, isolated town of St. Jones Without, Trinity Bay. When he became old enough, he started fishing with his father, two brothers and his uncle. They fished cod from a trapskiff using cod traps and long lines. The family moved from St. Jones Without to Heart’s Content in 1952. They continued the cod fishery there using their trapskiffs until 1971, when they purchased a larger and more modern 45-foot longliner, the Henry and Mary, built by Rueben Carpenter of Catalina. Gillnetting was the new fishery now. They fished cod, turbot and flounder on their new vessel. In 1972, a new opportunity came along from the Provincial Department of Fisheries for a new and emerging fishery; the Scottish ring net fishery, which we know today as the purse seine.
A fisherman from Scotland came over to teach him this new technology. In that first year, his crew landed 1.1-million pounds of mackerel. This was quite the feat as his boat and another partner boat could only carry 50,000 pounds combined per trip and their seine was only 115 x 18 fathoms.
Always the innovator and looking to the future, Cecil also helped teach and instruct other fishermen around the province this new purse seine technology fishery. It soon became a very important fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Cecil and crew soon began catching herring and then capelin using this new method. As a result, in 1976, the need for a bigger vessel arose. It was then that he and his two brothers, Edgar and Albert, purchased the 52-foot, Miss Barbara Lynn. This vessel doubled their carrying capacity and helped them bring in millions of pounds of mackerel, herring and capelin.
He used this boat until he retired upon the announcement of the cod moratorium in 1992. He will always be remembered as a bit of visionary for embracing new technology and new fisheries. He loved all types of fishing, but seining was by far his passion.
Cecil was married to his wife, Eleanor, for 43 years until his death in 2010. They had two sons and two daughters. His son, Brian, still fishes today with his own enterprise, using a 39-foot vessel to catch, like his father, multiple species. His other son, Darren, is employed on an offshore supply vessel. His two daughters, Nancy and Angela, are employed outside the marine industry.
- Byron Collins — Builder — Newfoundland and Labrador
Byron Collins grew up in Hare Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. He worked as a journeyman welder with the Iron Ore Company of Canada before starting Collins Aluminum and Repairs Ltd. with his brother-in-law in 1980. They started in a two-bay garage in Eastport, N.L. but quickly outgrew the facility. So, they worked daytime at the garage fabricating aluminum and stainless-steel products for the marine industry and at night they worked on building their new facility in nearby Glovertown.
With a strong industry need for seafood and aquaculture processing equipment, the company started to supply local fish and harvesting plants in Newfoundland and Labrador. Boatbuilding began in 1981 when the first Silver Dolphin aluminum boat was manufactured. The boats were primarily used as pleasure craft and included several models. In the early 1990s, when so many Newfoundlanders were wondering about the fate of the fishery, Byron’s focus remained on the longevity of the business. His key to survival was diversity, perseverance and innovation.
It was during this time he created specialized processing equipment for the aquaculture industry and expanded the Silver Dolphin Line to include custom-designed commercial vessels and additional pleasure craft models.
By the late 1990s, Byron’s brother-in-law moved on to pursue other interests and Collins Aluminum and Repairs Ltd. became Fab-Tech Industries Inc. The line had expanded to include boats ranging from 12 feet to 35 feet and reached well beyond the Newfoundland and Labrador market. The new millennium brought market expansions and the Silver Dolphin demand continued to increase. Buyers from the U.S., Denmark, France and Canada’s North were bringing new and exciting opportunities.
Byron continued to grow the business and embraced the increased demand. In recent years, the company adopted lean manufacturing initiatives and is focused on continuous improvement. The Silver Dolphin Line is the primary product line and the company builds approximately 150 boats per year, as well as contracts for pontoon and barge designs. Dealers in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut have become a strong asset to the sales team.
After 38 years, Byron is still very active in daily operations on the production side and his insight and guidance are well appreciated. His family is very much involved in the business, with his wife Linda working by his side since the beginning, along with his son and daughter-in-law, Jason and Melissa, joining the team in 1999 and 2000 respectively. His daughter, Lois, her husband Sean and family reside in Saint John, N.B. His pride and joy are his four granddaughters.
- Bill Barry — Processor — Newfoundland and Labrador
Bill Barry is the Chairman and CEO of Barry Group Inc. based in Corner Brook. A significant player in the seafood industry, Bill Barry’s companies impact economies locally, nationally and internationally. While the Barry family has been involved in fish harvesting since the 1830s, Bill’s vision for new business opportunities has resulted in company diversification domestically and internationally.
Today, the Barry Group is one of the largest seafood processing and exporting companies on Canada’s east coast. With 12 processing facilities in Newfoundland and Labrador and throughout Eastern Canada and approximately 2,000 employees, the Barry Group is Atlantic Canada’s largest employer in seafood processing.
The Barry Group operates companies in Iceland and has marketing outlets in Russia and China. Their products are sold in over 40 countries. A true family business, five of Bill’s sons and one daughter have begun the fifth generation to work in the industry.
Bill Barry has been defined as a risk taker. He has created large-scale operations and continues to expand in a competitive marketplace and in a sector that has experienced many challenges. Yet, Bill Barry has had huge success. His is the most diverse seafood company in Atlantic Canada. The company’s overall tonnage is greater than that of any company in Atlantic Canada — more than 80,000 metric tonnes of wild and aquaculture seafood products a year. Success has been driven by his ability to recognize opportunities and then do what needs to be done to make things happen. He utilizes advance technologies and harvests and processes many diverse species.
Bill Barry is a recipient of the Federal Government’s Exporter of the Year award and is an advocate for the industry. He is also a supporter of his community. He brought the Triathlon World Cup and the Ironman 70.3 challenge to Corner Brook.
The Barry Group’s vision has remained unchanged since the 1800s. Bill thrives on maintaining and building not only sustainable fisheries to ensure future generations can thrive, but sustainable communities. His companies are committed to responsible practices and sustainability with our ocean’s resources, local communities, harvesters, employees and customers. As the seafood industry continues to change at a rapid pace, Bill Barry faces the future with optimism, adapting to these constant changes.