Graeme Gawn takes over the helm of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union Local 9 in Sou’ West Nova Scotia.
At the recent Annual General Meeting outgoing President Hubert Saulnier nominated Gawn as his replacement.
Gawn is an active owner operator in the fishery and fishes from Cape St. Mary’s, Nova Scotia.
He has a long history in the fishery and with the MFU. He was the founding Secretary Treasurer when the Local was created in 1983. His other offices included: Past President of the Local, the Nova Scotia Vice President and the NS organizer for two years. Graeme has fished for 39 years and acted in the Coast Guard Auxiliary for 32 of those years.
Gawn explained that his mandate as President is to grow the Local and concentrate on organizational issues. He believes that, “It is critical that fishermen today are organized so that they can have effective input in the many contentious issues they face every day. Government simply pays no attention at all to individuals, so we must have a strong collective voice if we are to have any say in decisions that affect our fishery. “There are a lot of young guys just getting into the fishery that need a place to go for information and also a place to state their opinions.”
Membership drives take work and Graeme knows that well. He realizes that there will be a lot of work in his position. “It hasn’t changed”, he said. You still have to spend a lot of time talking to guys.” The new President is ready for that challenge. “This work is not about my future”, he said, “ I have done me time in the fishery. This is for the new guys coming up.” Graeme states.
Species management issues will be left to other members of the Local. Roger LeBlanc will continue with lobster as well and maintain the Secretary Treasurer position; Anthony Meuse will continue in the Vice President position and Hubert Saulnier will continue to manage groundfish. Gawn expects the Local to work as a team and to share responsibilities.
Hubert Saulnier, the outgoing President, will continue in his capacity as the Fundy Fixed Gear Co-Chair. “I will definitely stay involved”, said Hubert. I have been with the organization a long time and remain committed. The MFU appreciates the commitment and years of service from Saulnier. Ruth Inniss the MFU staff in NS said, “Working with Hubert is always a pleasure. He understands the fishery in that part of the Province especially. We are pleased he is staying on as the co-chair for the Fundy Fixed Gear.” It is an important role for that Local.”