May 2002
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Another Day on the Job
By Jillian Dollimont-Caines, Roncalli Central High, Port Saunders, NF

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lobster fishermanMay 3rd lobster fishermen up and down the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland went to bed anticipating the next day and the possibility of a successful lobster season. Saturday morning they woke early with hopeful hearts, they also woke to one of the year's biggest snow storms.

Centimeters and centimeters of snow fell and it seemed the strong wind would never calm, but still Port Saunders residents, and no doubt other fishermen in the area, braved the snow, wind and water. Going out to sea in such conditions may seem unbelievable and ridiculous to those unfamiliar with the life style of Newfoundlanders, but when so much is depending on how many pounds of lobsters you weight in each year, even the first day is crucial.

The fishermen at Port Saunders headed cautiously out of the harbour, each man keeping an eye on their companions, and on the boats around them. As always the fisher-people set their traps in groups, and although they're in competition for a suffering lobster supply they are constantly looking out for one other.

Eugene Caines, a local fisherman at Port Saunders, said, "You have to be aware of what is around you. Someone could easily get tangled up in the ropes being pulled by the hydraulics or fall overboard, also when it's rough on the water you have to be careful not to swamp the boat." Always being careful and paying attention to what is going on is common to fishermen. They have learned how to be cautious, so much it's more than habit, it's an instinct.

Newfoundlanders are no doubt hard workers. The idea of rising at five in the morning to a long day of setting and hauling lobster traps is bad enough, but to a storm and cold temperature is even worst. The determination and will of fisher-people on the island is outstanding.

Larry Caines, younger brother of Eugene, said, "It's a very trying job, on your patience and on your nerves. There's so much you've got watch out for, so much to do to prepare."

The lobster fishery, like most fisheries in Newfoundland, is considerably important. So many families, not only men and women, depend on the success of the catch. The fishermen's job may be a dangerous and at times unrewarding one, but it is necessary; it is how rural Newfoundland survives. Blaine Caines, Larry's 16 year old son, said, "I like fishing. I like being on the water, getting up early. I just like fishing."

The fishery has been around as long as the first inhabitants. It has always been the livelihood of Newfoundland. The Caines' family has had generations of people involved with the lobster industry and other fisheries as well. Just as Eugene and Larry learned from their father how to haul in the traps, hand over hand, so does Blaine from his father and uncle. Maybe the lobster fishery is not going to be a career for the sixteen year olds of today who will probably seek jobs as engineers and computer technicians, but the lobster fishery is here today, now and Newfoundlanders plan to work their hardest while it exists...come rain, shine or snow.

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