Sharks, Wharves, Lighthouses and Hard Luck Henry

August is the time for shark scrambles or fishing derbies in Nova Scotia.

While the agreat white, the mako, and the hammerhead get all the glory and gory details, the blue shark is the main attraction in these tournaments.

While many people cringe at the ‘wastefulness’ of these derbies or any other hunt or fishery which is conducted for recreation, the blue shark scrambles provides DFO the opportunity to study these animals up close, adding valuable information as to where the species stand in terms of sustainability.

The blue is one of the most common sharks in Atlantic waters at this time of year, but due to the fact there is no market for the meat product, no direct fishery is conducted — the majority of blue shark captures take place in other fisheries, especially the long-line sector.

Shark tournaments in Nova Scotia only catch a few percent of the total biomass. Last year only 49 blues were landed in three tournaments.

The animals are dissected right there and then on the wharves by DFO personnel. Onlookers are invited to take a real close look at what they are doing, especially the younger generation.

This is one way to make teens think about a career in marine and fishery biology.

lobster-crate-2Lobster Forum

Yarmouth’s Grand Hotel will be the scene of a day-long lobster forum on Wednesday, Sept. 21, beginning at 8 am.

Any lobsterman in the area is welcome as issues which impact their livelihoods will be discussed.

The area lacks any major cohesive representation of lobster harvesters, which has cost them millions of dollars in research funding, etc… through the years.

The big issue at this time is a one-cent per-pound levy to back an Atlantic-wide lobster marketing strategy. P.E.I. and New Brunswick harvesters have accepted the idea, as have other lobster fishing areas in Nova Scotia — but so far not in south western Nova Scotia where the bulk of the lobstermen and lobsters are found.

Getting harvesters from this area is crucial to the success of the venture.

Wharves, Breakwaters and Lighthouses

The federal government has been spending money to try to keep the economy from slipping into the jaws of another dreaded recession and Nova Scotia has been receiving some of this bounty.

Ottawa recently announced it was looking for someone to build a breakwater at the Stoney Island harbour in Shelburne County, N.S. This was part of a $7.7-million investment in that part of Nova Scotia, which will impact on wharves in Bear Point, Clark’s Harbour, Cripple Creek, Newellton, Falls Point, Ingomar and Lower Sandy Point.

Officials in Clark’s Harbour are hoping for a dredging project for their wharf. While well-protected, the harbour has a rocky bottom and with inshore vessels getting bigger and deeper all the time, groundings are not that uncommon.

The arrival of these super 45-footers and now 50-foot lobster boats means it is getting quite snug in many harbours.

The Cape Sable Light will be getting a $1-million makeover. This is Nova Scotia’s tallest beacon and is located a short distance from Cape Sable Island.

This is the end of successful campaign to save the lighthouse by the Friends of the Cape Light Society.  Erected in the 1920s it was designated a classified building in 1989 by the Federal Heritage Building Review Office.

Hard Luck Henry

Henry Surette passed away this spring after a brief bout with cancer.

The jovial lobstermen from Pinkney’s Point, about a dozen or so miles south of Yarmouth, N.S., spent his entire life in the fishery. He got the moniker Hard Luck because it seemed to follow him on his fishing ventures. He eventually sold his lobster boat and licence to his son Greg.

The son of Ben and Yvonne Surette, Henry was 71 years old when he passed.

He received numerous accolades during his lifetime for his work on behalf of the fishing community. He had been a member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary for 25 years and also a member of a CCG Advisory Committee based in Ottawa.

Henry was a past president of the MFU in this area and received a Gulf of Maine Visionary Award for his work in developing waste oil collecting barrels on wharves both in Canada and the United States.

He helped organize the North American Lobstermen Coalition and received a Governor General’s Award for his work on behalf of the fishing industry.

Henry loved to play golf and watch his grandsons play hockey at a local rink.

He was a definite character; the industry needs more guys like Hard Luck Henry.

Alain Meuse

Contributor - Nova Scotia

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