July 5, 2012
CCPFH recently went to Nova Scotia and had the opportunity to catch up with a passionate young fish harvester named Anthony Meuse. With the subject of new entrants and young fish harvesters in the spotlight, CCPFH held a short interview with him to ask about his views of the industry. Read the article below and check out the video here.
We met with Anthony on his boat on a rainy day at the beginning of the lobster season in Nova Scotia. We asked him a bit about his background and Anthony told us he knew what career he wanted to embark on from a very young age.
As a child Meuse along with his grand-father would go down by a wharf near Meteghan, Nova Scotia to pole fish. Meuse says: “Fishing is not a family business. During my fishing trips with my grand-father I would watch the boats coming in and out at the wharf and I wanted to be on one.” Even though fishing was a hobby in his family, to Anthony it became a goal.
This determined young man began his fishing career at the age of 18 working at the stern. He promised his friends André and Reg that if he had the chance to own a boat that he would hire them to work by his side. “What I thought was a no-go five years ago is now possible”. Armed with savings from over 10 years of being aboard a lobster boat, passing on nights out with friends and being cautious with his spending Anthony approached the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board and was given the loan he needed to purchase his own boat, Katie & Brothers.
A few years later, as he turns 31, he’s enjoying working alongside his friends as owner of his boat. “It’s good working with friends. We like the same music and the environment is good. We look forward to going to work”.
When asked what tips he might have for other young fish harvesters Anthony says: “The harder you work the better the money.” He urges those interested in working in the fisheries to keep working hard, with a good amount of effort put into it, a career in the fish harvesting industry can be very rewarding.
Still, the industry does have its challenges. As we asked Anthony what challenges he faced personally, he responded: “I thought it would be impossible to own my own boat five years ago. There was a lot of negativity about the industry in general but thanks to the loan board and the training I got from some of the older fishermen, I was able to get the money I needed to buy my boat”.
Meuse suggested that more programs be made available for funding: “ Money for training would help. It’s a big investment and it takes 10 weeks of training”. The initial investment to purchase a boat is a significant sum of money, adding to that is the cost for training including earning the Fishing Master IV and the 10 weeks you spend away during that program.
When asked what some of the daily challenges are Meuse says: “Weather and breakdowns”. Those are some of the nuisance aspects of being a fish harvester. But when asked what he loves about the job he quickly says: “The thrill of what’s in the trap”.
As for the future Anthony says he’s uncertain with the changes in the industry. “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep to a small boat only. It would be nice to stay independent.”
If you know a young harvester that the CCPFH can highlight please email us with their details. He or she could be covered in our next story.