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Unbearable Grief: Fishing Industry is Fraught with Tragedy and Loss

Above: Island Lady. Photo by Joe Jenkins   Fishing is one of the most dangerous commercial occupations on the planet. Statistically, Atlantic Canada has lost an average of about one fisherman per month over the past six or seven decades despite just about everything else in the industry going through dramatic change in that period. In fact, the death rate is even higher these days if compared on a percentage basis — there are fewer people fishing but the number of lives lost ...

Finnish Icebreaker – A Leader in its Field

Above: Captain Hanna Kujala and Captain Sid Hynes chat about new marine technology on the bridge of the Fennica.    What was touted a few years ago as one of the most powerful and efficient icebreakers in the world, recently spent four days in St. John’s harbour in September. The Fennica is from Finland and will be working in waters off northern Baffin Island for several months a year over the next two years. Arctia Icebreaking Ltd., a state-owned company in Finland, operates a ...

Remembering Gordie Gore

When an obituary describes the deceased as “our professional blueberry picker, baker of pies, weapon on the dance floor and ruthless card player,” you know this was an interesting person. When friends describe that person with words like integrity, kindness, honesty, humour, respect, caring and trust, you know this was an awesome person. Those are words we heard over and over again when we asked Gordie Gore’s friends and former colleagues what word comes to mind when they think ...

Henry Vokey: Man of a Thousand Boats

Henry Vokey was truly a legend in his own time. He was a quiet, unassuming and humble family man who grew up in the small fishing village of Little Harbour, Trinity Bay — certainly not the kind of person we usually think about in a line that includes the word “legend.” A master boatbuilder, Henry was known as the man of a thousand boats. Like many Newfoundland and Labrador men, Henry developed a keen interest in the art of wooden boatbuilding when he was a boy. From a family of ...

The Mysterious Loss of the Sarah Anne – Part I

Above: Jody Norman, Captain Ed Norman (Eddie Joe) and Scott Norman Monday, May 25, 2020, was just a few minutes old when the fishing longliner Sarah Anne pulled away from the dock in St. Lawrence on Newfoundland’s south coast to head for the snow crab fishing grounds. Captain Ed Norman, age 67, known to everyone as Eddie Joe, was a meticulous and precise man and if the plan was to depart at midnight, his crew knew they had better be there before then because midnight was when the ...

The Final Final

This is Final Voyages #264 — the last of a 22-year series that began in the first Navigator Magazine in November 1997. When I pitched the idea of writing a monthly article called Final Voyages in The Navigator, the magazine itself was only a concept. TriNav Group of Companies directors/owners Paul Pinhorn, Trevor Decker and Rick Yong were considering launching a fishing and marine industries publication and asked my opinion on which direction they might follow. I thought a magazine ...

Providing No More – Part II

On February 6, 2018, the fishing vessel Fisherman’s Provider II left port in Canso, Nova Scotia on a five-day halibut fishing trip. After nearly two hours of erratic steaming behavior, including going around in circles just off Canso, the vessel ran hard aground on a well-known shoal. At first, the skipper and three crewmembers had plenty of time to comfortably get off the vessel, but the captain, Roger Stoddard, was apparently not about to leave his vessel under any circumstances. This is ...

Providing No More

“It was totally bizarre.” That was the way veteran Canso fisherman Billy Bond described it. And, his sentiments, more or less, sum up the feelings of the fishermen and most other people in Canso, Nova Scotia, when talking about the loss of the Fisherman’s Provider II and especially the death of the vessel’s captain, Roger Stoddard. Owned by Fishermen’s Market International Inc., the 43-foot fibreglass fishing vessel was docked at the company’s wharf in Canso, located on the ...

It Must Have Been Really Quick – Part II

After refitting his longliner in the winter of 1994/95, Skipper Bob Stacey from St. Lawrence had a brand-new boat ready for the 1995 fishing season on the south coast of Newfoundland. The Jessie Marie was even five feet longer than before the refit. One of the main reasons for the upgrade was to make the vessel suitable for scallop fishing. Bob and his two-man crew fished the Jessie Marie for several months after the refit and for the most part, things went fairly well, but during a ...

Success Stories from the North

Torngat Fish Producers Co-op and Labrador Shrimp Company Featured at University Symposium Above: Panel members Ray Andrews, Gilbert Linstead, Nicole Helwig and Ron Johnson. It may surprise some to learn that one of the most modern fisheries in Atlantic Canada is carried out in Labrador. It may surprise even more to know that one of the two dominant companies is a cooperative (co-op) and the other, a much larger company, is owned by local fishermen and managed with strong social ...