Holy mackerel! They came in a bunch and went just as quickly.
I don’t know what kind of figure of speech that is, but you can bet the pelagic fishery is not surely over until the cold ocean sings. That’s just the way mackerel are, unpredictable. Hasty, even. Schooled in nature. Figures in health. Coming. Going. Like herring.
Hey, fish swim!
More than a thousand tonness of the tasty, prized omega-3 schoolies caught swimming Bay of Islands way through the fortnight were put on ice and processed ashore for limited local consumption and distribution to a broad international market, that other offshore. New money in the regional economy. New and old friends, home and abroad, co-operating.
Local fishers and new plant workers ready for the occasioned boost mackerel brings to their annual income, companies willing to meet extra business and consumers able to pay the price, share benefit of nature’s free-giving bounty.
Hundreds of area production workers, among them dozens decades steadily attached and dedicated to the local fishing industry, lend their hands to making ready the millions of individual fish which get pumped, conveyored, packaged and transported to where they have to go, duly recorded, labeled and accredited freight, which gets person-handled at both ends of the allotted transactions.
That’s a lot of workers. That’s a lot of moulah. That’s a lot of fish.
And, that’s only a few mackerel. The mini tunas fetch a better price on the open market than their slimmer omega-3 cousins, but Atlantic herring remains the prize catch for the fine folk in the local industry.
Fall herring typically show up in bigger numbers and that means busiest times ashore in October, November and December. Round and cut, fresh frozen and pickled in wine and vinegar, the work gets done.
Another 10,000 tonnes yet not looking to be caught go off the radar anyway when windy western weather keeps skippers dockside, at times longer than they’d like. Even light winds prevail over buoyant seines.
West and sou’west gales occasion plant workers to catch up in the pre-Christmas rush and get second wind of their own before hi-tech fish sounders and nets are put to work again.
Picture it in a frame
Meanwhile, as cruise ships also come and go peaceably this time of year, we stand amazed at the picturesque greeting nature offers them in our behalf. As if on cue, again, autumn was in bloom (if you know what I mean) with its kaleidoscope colour reflecting in mirror calm bay waters morning and evening, even a couple of nights, of late.
The record year for luxury liner visits to the Port of Corner Brook is gratefully shared by the city’s neighbours down the bay and cruise itineraries may only expect to pick up as time goes by. Churches, community service groups, indeed entire regions, benefit in tourism.
Fishers of men, and women, too, yellow fin tuna and white moose also showed up in our Bay of Islands travels this week.
People compelled to spend time around the Curling waterfront report to having pictures of an estimable eight to 15-foot-long fish that was thought to be a lone yellow fin tuna seen hanging around the docks last weekend.
Yellow fin tuna, which normally swim in schools, are considered to range in tropical and subtropical regions, usually only as far north as the Eastern seabord of the United States, so an appearance in western Newfoundland waters is rare.
The photo- and video-graphed spectacle at the fish plant wharf comes to complement a longtime harbour seal that lingers there, as well as by occasioned other sea and seaside creatures seen there and, though, not as uncommon, are all deserving of mention.
Then, there was the recent siting of another genetic anomaly in this neck of woods, a white moose. Albino ungulates, both moose and caribou, are not, it seems, all too uncommon in Newfoundland and Labrador.
As far back as the 1950s and ‘60s, we have stories of white moose traversing our wilderness. The late Uncle John Tom Blanchard had a picture of one on his wall when I was a child. This day in age, white moose and white caribou pictures taken in this province can be seen posted online.
Few people I know have seen one on the hoof, but Darren House and his friend, Cookie, did. He called to share his recent wilderness vacation experience with The Outport News but, like the tuna photographers, is sitting on his pictures for now.
“As a kid, hearing stories of Grandfather seeing a big white moose always seemed like folk tales or fiction,” House said. “To see it with your own eyes answers lots of questions.”
Radio static prevails
Loyal listeners to the Bay of Islands oldest private radio channel are irritated and perplexed at the loss the usually-clear signal broadcast by the AM station.
For well more than a month now, CFCB has been in static mode at certain locations around Bay Of Islands, causing upsetting for, among others, residents of the seniors home in Meadows, who have long depended on it for their news, weather and entertainment.
We suspect advertisers may also not be pleased with their underachieving repeater difficulties, by now seeming long overdue for repair.
In hilly terrain, underground parking garages, overhanging roofs and under overpasses, the station is barely audible or is not able to be heard at all. People are being made to switch channels, understandably.
Dave White welcomes your Bay of Islands news and events information at 688-2003, or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.