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Interview with a Fisherman: Ronnie Langille

Skinner's Cove Wharf
Distant View of Skinner's Cove Wharf

Where do you fish and how long have you been fishing?
I fish at Skinnerís Cove now, but I use to fish at MacDonaldís cove.  It was 1969 that I started fishing.

Who do you fish with?
Recently itís been a family member, like my son or daughter, but Iíve hired different people throughout the years.

Is lobster fishing a profession that runs in the family?
Yes.  My Dad fished, my brothers fishÖÖ.

Do you own and operate your own boat?  If so for how long?
Well, since í69- I bought the first boat then.  I fished with my Dad before that.  I fished a couple of weeks when I was 15-thatís when I first started I guess. 

What kind of boat do you fish on? Describe it briefly.
The boatís a Northumberland Strait and itís 42 ft long, about 13ft across.  Itís made of fiberglass and wood, and is 4 years old now.  It has a John Deer, inboard diesel engine in it.

How many months do you lobster fish for?
Two months, May and June.

How far from shore do you fish?
The farthest would be about 3 miles.

How many traps do you fish with? Wood or wire?
300- thatís the max you can have.  I have about 240 wood traps and 60 wire ones. 

What is the common number of traps per trawl in this area?
Three, five or seven at Skinnerís Cove, but all wharfs are different.  The fishermen at each wharf make a decision together as to how many traps can be on a line and how many stops there can be.  At Skinnerís the maximum stops you can make is 60, but at Cape John itís a lot more Ďcause they have fewer traps on a line then we do here.  Some of the guys at the Cape only have 2 or 3 traps per trawl so they make a lot more stops. 

How long does it take to prepare for lobster season?  What is involved with this process?
Depends.  All through the winter and spring you work on different things.  Paint buoys, go over rope, fix traps, build traps; then in the spring you rig up the boat.

Who buys your lobster from you?
North Nova Seafoods Ltd in Bayview.

Are you allowed to sell your lobster off the boat to the public?
Yes, you sell it at market price.

What time do you go out fishing in the morning and what time do you get back?
Well, it depends.  I suppose this season we were heading out around 5:00am and getting back around 1:30pm.

Who tells you were you can set your traps?
The Fishermanís Agreement. Every year the fishermen at the wharf get together and agree to who can fish where.  Itís like an unspoken law I guess.

Do inspectors make visits to the wharf to make sure policies are being followed?
Yes they do.  They usually come 2 or 3 times a season.  Sometimes theyíre on a boat and they board your boat to check things out.  They check licenses, and check for spawn and shorts.  They go to the wharf too.

What kind of bait do you use and where do you get it?
I use mackerel and herring mostly.  The buyer brings it with him and we store it on the boat for the next day.

Do you fish anything else besides lobster?
Yes.  Herring, scallops, mackerel, rock crab.  I used to fish for Irish moss.

What kind of equipment do you have on your boat?
Colour monitor depth sounder, radar, Global Positioning System (GPS), hauler, VHF radio, CB, deck light for night fishingÖ

What is the largest lobster you have heard of in this area?
13 pounds.

Who are the buyers at Skinnerís Cove?
Pictou Fishing Supplies, North Nova Seafoods and Northumberland Co-op.

How much would you be fined if you were caught with an illegal size lobster?
Well, I donít know- I guess it depends.  It would probably go to court and then the judge would decide what you would get.  Some people might lose time during the next lobster season. Others might be let off the hook, others might be fined. 

Final question.  Do you like lobster and what is your favorite lobster dish?
Yes, I do like it, and well lobster stew I guess is my favorite.

 

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