Passed On: Robert Comeau – Meteghan Centre, N.S. machinist
Comeau, 86, passed away on March 3 at home. Born in Meteghan River, he was a son of the late Albenie and Marguerite (Melanson) Comeau. He joined the army on August 4, 1950 where he trained at Camp Borden and afterwards in Petawawa with the 1st Battalion R.C.R. He was awarded his Paratroopers Wings on Jan. 26, 1951 in Rivers, Manitoba. Robert served in Korea from March 1952–March 1953. He was awarded the U.N. Medal, Korean Medal and Voluntary Service Medal. He worked as a machinist for A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd. in Meteghan River until his retirement in 1984. He was a lifetime member of the Royal Canadian Legion Clare Branch #52, Saulnierville.
Passed On: Fred Titus – Meteghan, N.S. fish plant refrigeration engineer
Titus, 89, passed away on March 5. Born in Meteghan Centre, he was a son of the late Joseph V. and Anna (Comeau) Titus. He was a hard-working, self-taught jack-of-all-trades who spent his working years as a fish plant refrigeration engineer.
Passed On: Victor Acker – Churchover, N.S. fisherman
Acker, 69, passed away at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital after a short battle with cancer. Born in Carleton Village, he was the son of the late Robert Malcolm Mckenney Acker and Kathryn Josephine (Walker) Acker. He was a commercial fisherman for over 50 years and was most content on the water.
Passed On: Mark Atwood – The Hawk, N.S. fisherman
Atwood, 58, passed away at home on March 11. Born at The Hawk on October 8, 1960, he was a son of the late Alton and Evernelle “Deedee” (Nickerson) Atwood. He was a fisherman all of his working life and was happiest out on the ocean or at home with his family.
Passed On: Troy Waybret – Clam Point, N.S. fisherman
Waybret, 58, passed away on March 12 at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital. Born on November 12, 1960, he was a son of the late Dewey and Sandra (Stewart) Waybret. He was a fishing captain and loved being out on the open ocean.
Passed On: Brian Jacquard – Wedgeport, N.S. fisherman
Jacquard, 57, passed away unexpectedly on March 31 at home. Born on April 6, 1961 in Yarmouth, he was a son of James and Geraldine (Boudreau) Jacquard of Wedgeport. He worked as a lobster fisherman and as a painter.
Passed On: Gerald Burgess – Southwest Port Mouton, N.S. fisherman
Burgess, 86, passed away at the Queens General Hospital, Liverpool on March 15. Born in Southwest Port Mouton, he was a son of the late Gilbert and Frances (Bowers) Burgess. He was a self-employed fisherman all his life.
Passed On: Jerry Byrne – Conche, N.L. fisherman
Byrne, 57, passed away tragically on March 16. He was a man of many talents. He was a fisherman, woodsman, carpenter, tour guide to tourists and friend to all.
Passed On: Wilfred Noble – St. Anthony, N.L. fisherman
Noble, 74, passed away on March 27 at the Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital. Born in St. Anthony on September 11, 1944 to Pearce and Bertha Noble of Great Brehat; he was the first of seven children. He fished all his life, finishing his fishing career with a 16-year stint with his brother-in-law Eric in 1992.
Passed On: John Brake – Bridgewater, N.S. mariner
Brake, 76, formerly of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, passed away on March 21 at the Harbour View Haven Nursing Home, Lunenburg. Born in Mooring Cove, Newfoundland, he was the son of the late John James and Mary Rita (Farrell) Brake. He spent most of his working years working with National Sea as a deckhand and cook.
Retiring: Henry Demone – High Liner Foods Chairman from Board of Directors
High Liner Foods recently announced that chairman Henry Demone will be retiring from the Board of Directors following the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting on May 14, 2019. Demone previously held the title of CEO at High Liner Foods and retired from the position in August 2015. He returned as CEO on an interim basis in August 2017 to replace Keith Decker and served as CEO until High Liner Foods appointed Rod Hepponstall as the company’s new President and CEO last April. High Liner Foods’ Board of Directors intend to appoint Robert Pace as Chairman at the Annual General Meeting. Pace most recently held the position of Chair of the Audit Committee of the Board and has been a director of High Liner for a number of years.
Stepping Down: Teresa Fortney – Clearwater Seafoods Vice President of Finance and CFO
Clearwater Seafoods recently announced that the company’s current VP of Finance and CFO, Teresa Fortney, is stepping down from her position to “pursue other opportunities closer to her family in Ontario.” Fortney plans to continue to serve in her roles as the company begins to search for her successor.
Awarded: Inaugural Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) Harvester Awards
Inshore Harvester of the Year — Captain Keith Bath of La Scie.
Keith has been an inshore harvester for more than 55 years. He’s originally from the Horse Islands in White Bay but resettled to La Scie in the 1960s. His defining fishing specialty is fishing groundfish and sealing. At 72 years of age and coming off life-altering open-heart surgery in 2017, Keith spent the winter engaged in the seal fishery off Newfoundland’s northeast coast. In doing so, he not only contributed to meaningful employment for the crew members of his enterprise, but his vessel — the Ocean Bellows — landed a high liner amount of seals.
As in other years, Keith converted to crab harvesting in the early spring of 2018 and after catching his quota, he moved his vessel to the St. Pierre Bank where he fished primarily haddock and pollock.
Throughout his lifetime of fishing, Keith has demonstrated significant leadership, ingenuity and adaptability. When the cod moratorium was handed down in 1992, Keith switched to harvesting alternate species, and in doing so he did not hesitate to move to non-traditional areas to harvest. Most importantly, he almost single-handedly kept the seal hunt alive as prices plummeted and animal welfare pressure mounted to cease hunting altogether.
Finally, another defining event for Keith unfolded while fishing on the St. Pierre Bank in late June 2018.
A severe storm disabled another fishing vessel called the Little Jack skippered by Les Fudge of Burin — who’s also nominated for Inshore Harvester of the Year.
Seriously damaged, listing badly, and miles from port with a crew of five aboard, the boat was caught in a vicious storm. Without hesitation, Keith and his crew engaged the Ocean Bellows to assist the disabled vessel all evening and throughout the night until the situation was brought to a successful conclusion for the vessel and crew.
Young Harvester of the Year — Captain Joshua Ryan of La Scie.
Josh, 30, is from La Scie and the son of well-known fisherman Terry Ryan. Josh has skippered his father’s boat, the Ocean Surfer II, for five years, and plans to buy the enterprise. Joshua was nominated by one of his crew, who had this to say:
“We always land our quotas, as well as whatever we can lease — despite constantly dealing with trouble and bad weather, the curse of the Newfoundland fisherman. We had an incident on June 3, 2018. There was bad weather coming up, so we were finishing our last tow before heading for home. We lost our steering and with the weather coming on we had to call the Coast Guard. The wind reached a sustained 60 knots and we had no way to steer. The Coast Guard couldn’t help us, the conditions were too bad. Only through ingenuity and perseverance did we make. Throughout the ordeal it was Josh who kept us calm as he himself was. He considered all our thoughts and made some tough calls — including staying on our boat despite being strongly advised to abandon ship, but he got us safely to land. I strongly believe Joshua Ryan represents everything that you are looking for in a fisherman of the year.
The incident happened about 175 kilometres from La Scie, with five crew aboard the boat, which lost her steering and ability to go in reverse with a major storm about to hit. It took two days and co-ordination with the St. John’s Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre until the Coast Guard was able to step in and finally attach a towing line.
Ryan’s Commander Bravery Award — Captain Les Fudge of Burin.
Les, 67, was nominated by two separate people and both nominations have to do with a June 2018 incident aboard his fishing boat Little Jack. The vessel and crew were about 120 miles from Burin, in an area known as the Gullies, when the winds came up. They headed to shore but they lost propane, and in the middle of changing the tank the spar and stabilizers came down. Les would describe the experience as one of the worst in the 50 years he was at sea.
Awarded: Third Annual Turning the Tide Marine Industry Awards
This year’s program consisted of four awards that recognized individuals and organizations that have contributed to the development of the marine industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. The winners were:
Oceanex — Industry Leadership and Excellence Award
Fraser Edison — Industry Lifetime Achievement Award
CBC’s Land & Sea — Award of Historical Marine Significance
Kraken Robotics — Innovation Leadership Award