Blog Archives

Peaceful times in Pond Cove

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Pond Cove is a small fishing community on the Great Northern Peninsula just 5 KM north of Plum Point and surrounding the beautiful and serene Genevieve Bay. The community is a quiet place, with just twenty homes.

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On a recent visit the water was peaceful. On the wharf, lobster traps were neatly stacked. In fact, they were stacked all around the community. The season may have been over, but their presence showed the importance of this fishery to the community, still today.


I’ve been told Pond Cove is a quiet place to pick berries, dig clams, or certainly take in a boat ride or a nature walk. One did not have to go far to see the wood piles, hear the birds chirping and I’m sure there are moose and caribou not to far away.

There is a photograph waiting almost around every turn you take.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

It’s Lobster Season on the Great Northern Peninsula

Lobster traps hit the water in St. John’s Bay and surrounding harbours and coves on the Great Northern Peninsula yesterday morning after significant ice delays. Mother Nature has certainly not been helpful to our fishers, given the delays meant missing the lucrative Mother’s Day markets when demand is high and sales peak. The fact that many were unable to take to the water, enabled prices to soar past the $10 mark per pound for lobster, where today it has dropped to nearly half that price.

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On Friday, I visited Barr’d Harbour. It is a re-settled community on the Great Northern Peninsula, that becomes a bustling with activity from early May until mid-June for lobster season. As a child, most of our family, friends and neighbours would be uprooted for the day the lobster pots would hit the water. As a child this meant a day missed at school to help the family business. We would all have our chores of cutting bait, baiting pots, loading and offloading, truck driving, setting traps in the water or cooking up a pot of soup and feeding the hungry men and women helping ensure lobsters would be return in the coming days. I certainly miss the activity, the day at the Bay and more importantly the time spent with dad doing what was his true passion – fishing!

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I wish all the lobster fishers a successful season and hope to have my fish feed of fresh lobster next weekend! There is nothing like getting them fresh from our very own waters.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Feasting on This Fish! Main Brook is shellin’ scallops for greater returns…

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The waters off the Great Northern Peninsula are filled with delicacies from the sea. There is nothing better than accessing local seafood close to home. On the plate above is halibut, cod, scallop, shrimp complimented with roasted potatoe and sliced carrots.

My father was a scallop fisher. This is a labour intensive process for the small 35 foot boat, dragging along the scallop beds and picking them from the buckets. Most of the time is spent shelling the scallop and taking only the white meat to sell to market. I am excited to see Northern Lights Seafood Ltd. of Main Brook engage in a new process that sells the scallop in a half shell form with all meat and additional product, which adds value. This is the type of secondary processing we need to see from our fishery that creates additional wealth down the value chain from end customer to harvester. It should be encouraged and supported. This concept will allow more sales of product from the fisher resulting in higher net income, plant workers receive additional hours for more labour intensive work, processor sells into higher value markets and consumers receive high-quality and demanded products from the pristine waters off the Strait of Belle Isle.

The smaller processors have opportunities to look at secondary-processing in ways that creates niche products serving niche markets for higher yields. These types of technologies and adaptation must be encouraged if we are to remain competitive on a global level and satisfy changing trends of consumer demands. People want access to high-quality fish products and we have those products, we just have to gain access and package these products to cater to these consumer demands. We have to become more innovative when it comes to our fish products and encourage active infrastructure investments.

Initiatives like “This Fish” (http://thisfish.info/) should be happening on the Great Northern Peninsula, where the fisher who caught the fish is part of the story. It works at the grocery store, restaurant, fish market at the local or global level.

Learn all about the seafood you eat, and connect to the fish Harvester who caught it, by tracing its journey from the ocean to your plate. – This Fish

In May of this year, as the Official Opposition MHA responsible for Business, I joined Sam Slade our MHA responsible for Fisheries and Aquaculture to visit FFAW-UNIFOR’s launch of This Fish seafood traceability for halibut and lobster. There were several businesses and restaurants engaging in this process, showcasing their menus that enables traceability back to a local harvester. People want experiences, they want to know where their food comes from.

This is an opportunity for our local fishers, local restaurateurs, retail and processing community to engage FFAW-UNIFOR to pursue This Fish initiatives on the Great Northern Peninsula. We have incredible fish products and fishers that need to be part of the story as exported fish from our waters ends up halfway around the world or on our neighbour’s dining table or at a downtown St. John’s restaurant.

Let’s keep finding innovative ways to grow our fishery in Newfoundland & Labrador.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

Golden Sunsets – Green Island Cove, NL

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The golden sun is setting over the Strait of Belle Isle and will disappear beyond the hills of the Big Land – Labrador. This was a magnificent view I experience from my backyard. A truly joy of rural living when you are at water’s edge.

This has been a summer where we’ve experienced the freshest seafood, either at one of our fine local restaurants or at home. Lobsters have been boiling in the shed and eaten outside. Food definitely tastes better when it’s prepared and eaten outside for some reason.

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The wonderful surroundings, the fresh air, green space, blue skies, sunshine and tranquility certainly provide the perfect atmosphere. The backyard fire pit and entertaining area is still a work in progress, but even the flames of a store purchased pit can provide just what you need for gatherings of friends and family to share song, stories and enjoy the warmth of the fire when the sun goes down.

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It’s always important in our busy lives that we stop to smell the roses and realize the value of rural living.

The Great Northern Peninsula offers backyards that have golden sunsets and everything you need to enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.

Live Rural NL –
 
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Lobster season is just around the corner

After taking a few seals in April, the first week of May had always represented a time of urgency for my father to get back on the water.  After a long winter of making new traps, sometimes building a new flat bottom boat and obtaining knitted lobster heads from my grandfather, May was the true start of a busy fishing season that would last into the Fall.  My father was a lobster fisher until his death in 1999.

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These are modern lobster traps taken in St. Paul’s at roadside on the Great Northern Peninsula. They are unlike the wooden ones I am use to, which had concrete poured into them to give the added weight to sink to the bottom of the ocean floor. It is evident that things are rapidly changing, even in the fishery. We are losing some of our very important traditional and institutional knowledge. My father was a boat builder, he could make a lobster trap and knit a net. These are all skills, in which I did not learn.

In modern times, it appears there is competition for new technology and the continuation of our traditional ways. There is value in both.

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I remember each year when lobster season opened. The now re-settled community of Barr’d Harbour would be one of the most populous places with fishers, partners, their children and helpers would be out in full force to get their lobster pots in the water as quickly as possible.

There was a real sense of urgency, creating a need for co-operation. All available hands would make for easier work, as we cut, baited and stacked dozens of traps into a truck to deliver to shoreline. Some traps were collected by steaming to islands and others were already loaded or near the shore. A real strategy was deployed by the license holder, ensuring they could work with the rising and falling tides.

I have always been impressed by the complexities of fishing and how our skilled and experienced fishers knew exactly where they dropped hundreds of traps, intermingled with other fishers scattered along the coastline over several miles.

The short time I had with my father on the water, will always be held as treasured memories. This was the place where he earned his living and provided for us, his family. He was very proud of what he did, fishing was in his blood extending many generations.

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The shoreline continues to be packed with ice despite lobster season being just around the corner. There is a real sense of urgency that this ice go as quickly as possible or an intervention as in the past for an ice compensation package for those impacted. It is essential that our fishers be able to earn a living and provide for their families.

I’m looking forward to getting a feed of fresh lobster from the Great Northern Peninsula. I believe local lobster tastes better.

Live Rural NL 

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA


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