Lobster Fishing - the Andrea Lynn

The proposal for my 2015 artistic residency in Port Bickerton included a desire to spend a couple of days on the water with a local lobster fishing crew. I already had a lobster fishing project on the go and felt this would be a good opportunity to expand on it. Fortunately, my residency dates coincided with the final two weeks of the local lobster season, and my hosts had no trouble finding a skipper willing to take me along.

Only a couple of people knew I had been out on a lobster boat before (see my Aboard the Irish Lass personal project), so there were a few jokes, and apparently a couple of bets, on how long it would take for this city-slicker to get seasick! I was highly amused, but not the least bit sorry to disappoint.

There weren't a whole lot of differences between fishing off the Atlantic coast and fishing in the Bay of Fundy. The biggest one, for me at least, was the early morning sailings. In the Bay of Fundy we had to leave and return based on the tides - the highest in the world - so departure times could vary from early to mid-morning. In Port Bickerton tides weren't a concern, so the boats sailed around 4:30 - 5:00 am every day. No chance to sleep in!

I ended up making two trips about a week apart. In hindsight, I probably should have gone out at least one more time but I wasn't sure how the two weeks would play out and didn't want to miss other photographic opportunities.

The Crew

The Andrea Lynn is owned and skippered by Bruce Jack (center), and crewed by Brian "Duke" Kaiser (left) and Catlin Jack (right). I'm grateful to them for tolerating me and my camera.

The Office

This ain't no cubicle! The weather doesn't always cooperate, and early mornings can be hard, but nothing quite compares to fresh air, salt breezes, and glorious sunrises on the Atlantic ocean.

The Work

The boats fish seven days a week during the short two-month-long spring season, with all of the 250 traps checked daily. Each trap is hauled aboard, emptied, cleaned, and re-baited before going back into the water for another day. The catch is sorted, with undersized lobster and egg-bearing females being thrown back to ensure the continued survival of the species and the fishery.

Return to Port

The day's work ends with a return to home port to offload the catch. Lobster fishing is cyclical, so some days, and some years, are better than others. But this traditional occupation remains strong, and is the lifeblood of many small Atlantic Canadian towns like Port Bickerton.

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