Passed On: Chris Wilton — Fox Island River N.L. Skipper and Fisherman
Wilton, 31, died from injuries sustained last month as a result of an accident while snowmobiling on Fox Island River after he was thrown from his snowmobile when a ski hooked into some rough ice. His history in the fishery goes back more than 20 years when at age 10, he started fishing with skipper Andy Hickey out of Woody Point. At the start he would be picking out female capelin to make money for himself. As soon as he finished high school, he went fishing with the Hickeys full time on their purse seiner and in his early 20s he started skippering his own boat, making him one of the youngest skippers in the province. A natural leader, he skippered a boat with five men. His wife, Stacey Lafitte-Wilton, also fished lobster and crab with him. He was an active member with the Fishery Food and Allied Workers Union.
Passed On: John Roy — Port Mouton, Queens County N.S. Fisherman
Roy passed away suddenly at home on Saturday, December 20, 2014. Born in Port Mouton, he was a son of the late Orville and Muriel (Williams) Roy. Roy was a fisherman all his life. He enjoyed working with his hands making hand-made lobster traps and hammocks among other things with his best friend Wilfred. He also enjoyed hunting, baseball, wrestling and boxing, and especially spending time with his grandchildren. He will always be remembered as a considerate and loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend.
Not Running For Office: Greg Kerr — Conservative MP for West Nova
Long-time politician Greg Kerr’s final legislative contribution will be to keep seal hunt observers farther away from the hunt. Kerr was first elected provincially in the 1970s and currently serves as the Conservative MP for West Nova. He recently announced he will not reoffer in the 2015 federal election. His last private member’s bill, C-555, is nearing final passage by the House of Commons. It will double the size of the legal buffer that prevents observers from coming near the seal hunt. The bill amends the Marine Mammal Regulations to expand the buffer from one-half nautical mile to one nautical mile. Only ships with observation licences can come closer than that range, and licences can only be given out by the minister of fisheries and oceans to people who “will not cause a disruption to a seal fishery.” Kerr said the one-mile buffer was recommended to him by the Canadian Coast Guard and that larger ships could break up the ice and endanger sealers. With all three parties supporting the seal hunt, the measure is unlikely to be defeated. Kerr was first elected provincially in 1978 and served as a cabinet minister in the 1980s and early 1990s. After a failed federal bid in 2006 he was elected in West Nova in 2008 and again in 2011.
Awarded: Bill DiMento — High Liner’s Sustainability Director
The SeaWeb Seafood Summit recently recognized DiMento as its first ever Seafood Grand Champion for his work in building seafood sustainability across the industry. A number of people attended the Summit this year specifically to honour Bill as he got this award. This was the first year the Summit named a Grand Champion, which honours excellence in four targeted categories: Leadership, Innovation, Vision and Advocacy. DiMento was recognized for his work in all the categories having achieved 99 per cent of High Liner’s goal to source all of their seafood from sustainable suppliers.
Retiring: Ron MacKinley — P.E.I. Fisheries Minister
MacKinley announced last month he will not re-offer for election after what he said was more than a year of mulling it over. His announcement came as his party prepares for the next election with riding nominations underway around the province. MacKinley was first elected as member of the Legislative Assembly in a by-election in December 1985 and has been re-elected in every general election since 1986. He represents District 16, Cornwall-Meadowbank. In April, 2000, he became Leader of the Opposition. With this new role came a seat on all legislative committees. Between 2004 and 2007, he served as the Opposition Critic for Transportation and Public Works and Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture. He also served on a number of other legislative committees and was Chair of the Public Accounts Committee. On June 12, 2007 he was appointed Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Most recently, on October 18, 2011, he was appointed Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development.