We live in seafood paradise on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Haddock, halibut, mussels, oysters, lobster, scallops, crab, and more are available in season and beyond. There are fish markets all around the island which carry mostly fresh inventory, all of which we have enjoyed. Cod, our favourite white fish, is usually available, though often brought from Nova Scotia.
Meal of cod and photo by Aunt M. Smith
With many of my forefathers having had a history in the fishery in Newfoundland, I always enjoy the sight of the fishing boats in the harbours around this island. Though many of these boats look different from the boats I remember, they are reminiscent of home. During a recent visit to Cabot Park along the north coast, we watched the boats go by in the channel on their way to and from Darnley Basin, their port. People relaxed along the beach and in the water at low tide, oblivious to the marine activity.
One boat looked like it had tourists out for a cruise on the bay, as beach-goers walked on the sand bars. It was a setting representative of the island.
Many of the boats have black buoys on the deck.
They are from the mussel fishery, as socks, long mesh bags of mussels, are kept floating in the ocean by the buoys attached to the supporting line at the surface. Harvesting of the lines of mussels means the buoys are brought ashore, where they are stored.
The fishers hoist the lines of mussels out of the water via a winch located in the center of the deck.
They remove the mussels from the socks on deck and in port, deliver them to the fish plant across from the wharf.
The day we were at Darnley Basin, a transport truck left the plant with fresh mussels for markets around Canada and beyond.
Bird's eye view of Cabot Beach with Darnley Basin left of center, photo by B. Noall
The mussels are available year round, though production is reduced in the summer when the animals are spawning. The fishing industry makes Darnley Basin a busy place, while locals and tourists relax on Cabot Beach on the other side of the sand dunes. Work and relaxation exist side by side on this gentle island.
Thank you to Aunt M. Smith and B. Noall for the photos.