Page 59 - With Wilfred Poirier, Lobster Buyer
ISSUE : Issue 33
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/6/1
once a week. But Newfoundland, sometimes twice a week. I think that I used more cars than anybody else. Company's cars. And I had about 10 or 12 of my own. I must have used 60-odd cars, I know, in my life. It wasn't paved from Portland, Maine, to North Sydney, cov? ered with dust. The company gave me a car every year. I ruined two cars in one year one time. I think it was 1940. I made in my life, I'm sure, oh, 5 or 6 hundred trips. I was working out of Shediac in Aug? ust and September, and I used to sometimes make two trips in one week to Gloucester at night, I was busy all the time. I was on the road sometimes at night, all or part of the night, and the early morning I was out in my car--I had so many places to call in in one day. I wasn't tired, though. I had to be on the road. I could be in Canso, now, like today--by tomorrow morning I'd be down the Eastern Shore, or on this island. (You were away from your wife an awful lot, to do your work.) I was away from her a- bout 4 months at a stretch sometimes. Then I'd see her for a week. But most of the winter, like January, February, I was part? ly with her. Come down in March, till De? cember, I'd be busy. I know I've been away from home some Christmases. Couldn't get back, (And you had people who worked for you?) Yes, I had a watchman in, oh, probably 10 different places in Nova Scotia, and I had a bookkeeper, a little office in Petit de Grat. (What would the watchman do?) He'd take care of the lobsters I bought, see that they were always in clear water, the crate not overloaded. And he'd cull them out. If there was a dead one, he'd throw it out. One dead lobster can kill a full crate of 150 pounds overnight--that's what you've got to watch. Cull the lobsters, take the dead ones and the weak ones out. I'd pay the watchmen so much a month, you know. (Would anybody ever have to watch the fishermen, to be sure the fishermen stayed with you?) No, you can't tell the fishermen. You let him have his own way. be nice to him, whether he likes you or not. Always try to be friendly with him. I could have had a dozen fights. I wasn't a- fraid of anyone. I'm not a boxer. When I was young, I wasn't afraid of anyone. And if they got sarcastic, I'd tell them off. "Ship somewhere else." But they'd always come back. I wouldn't insult them or any? thing . (Did you ever have a bad year?) The bad year was in 1950. The lobsters were scarce. That's when my company sold out. There were no lobsters that year at all. Some? thing like we have now. They sold out to a man in New York, He wanted me to live in Newfoundland, and I refused. You know, I was getting then past 65. I said, "You've got younger men, send them there, I intend to get my pension. I'm through." (Was there never a bad year before 1950?) No. I never had a bad year. Must have been 38 or 40 years, I guess. Good years all the time--they were for me. Except 1950, when it was bad for everybody. The lobsters were very scarce. A little wharf down in Poirierville, where I was bom, we had 22 boats for a time. Everybody was fishing. Lobster got scarce. There's no more lob? sters. The ground has been fished out. And what made the trouble is the drag from the beam trawlers has destroyed the bed of the ocean. It's the damn drag now, and the for? eign ships come off 100 or 200 miles off of our land, and they drag the bottom, too. The lobsters spawn on the bottom between rocks, they pass thousands of little seeds--the female does--and they generally spawn around May. And in June and July they start shelling. Well, you imagine when there's thousands and thousands of little lobsters on the female, and a drag- ger comes along and rips the bottom. He kills everything. Kills the mother and the seeds--that's what happens. (The dragger isn't going after lobster?) No, he's going after fish, going after haddock, codfish, halibut, redfish--whatever he can get. And this goes on now. Now we have--sometimes I feel, if I could see well--I would write a nice letter. But we haven't got any repre? sentative of the fishermen. They take a farmer, a plumber--that doesn't know a squid from a frog--to represent the fish industry. I know that. I was a practically most of my life. From when I was a youngster, as I told you, 13 years of age. I sometimes wonder why they're ap? pointed, given these jobs of 30-, 40-, 50,000 dollars a year. And the fishermen making probably $1000, some of them. No, they take a shoemaker or anybody--they pick them out--or a farmer, and put him as a representative of the fish Industry--the minister. THE HOME OF FINE SEAFOOD, we have a pickup booth at the SYDNEY AIRPORT. Call us. Coast To Cdast Air Shipping - Ask For Our Price List Phone: Plant (902) 849-5505, Night (902) 849-2705 Write: R 0. Box 160, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, B1A 5V2 Telex: 019-35241 CHARGEX - MASTER CHARGE - VISA Jacques-Cartier Motel M. Mme. Roger Poirier, P.O. Box 555, Sydney, N. S. ' Motel: (902)539-4375 Residence: (902)562-2414 FRANCAIS 2 Kilometres de I'Aeroport ENGLISH _ CampGill ' Lighthouse Cape Breton Shopping Plaza Sydney River, Nova Scotia We Have the Answer to All Your Lighting Needs!
Cape Breton's Magazine