Main a Dieu: Essay
Ocean Books

A small village off Louisbourg is where you will find Main-a-Dieu, which is known as the "Lobster land of the Maritimes". They have meetings to pick numbers to see where their traps go.

There are three different wharfs to put your traps on. However, you want to be closer to the edge of the wharf, so you can be finished early. Some are not even done after a day's work. There are at least sixty boats in Main-a-Dieu harbour. Every boat has 275 traps to catch lobsters. Lobster fishing lasts two months, from May 15 to July 15. Setting day is May 15, when you put your traps on your boat and go out and set them. You are not allowed to go past five o'clock, because it is one of the rules and regulations every fisherman has to follow. If you go out before then, you may lose from two to five days of fishing.

Every fisherman has helpers, because it is a hard job to do all by yourself. My father is a fisherman and my brother is his helper. So, everyday you go out and check your traps to see if you've got any lobsters. If you do, you'll measure them and put them into two different sections: the shack and market. Sometimes, you will catch seedy lobsters, which are pregnant lobsters. You have to throw them back, so there will be more lobsters, because they are decreasing. It is hard to make a living at lobster fishing, if there are no lobsters. Seedy lobsters must be thrown back for two more reasons. The three different buyers will not take them and if you get caught with them, you probably will be fined and may lose your fishing licence.

Lobsters are very expensive, too. They vary from 40 - 50 dollars for a dozen. The three different buyers and sellers may make a deal with you, to get a lower than regular price. You have nice days and you have not so nice days. On the not so nice days, if a storm comes, the fishermen lose a lot of gear. They decide whether they want to make the traps again. If it is two or three traps, they usually don't, but if it's 10 - 15 traps, they usually do.

The first Sunday of the season is the blessing of the fleet. That is where all the fishermen go for a little spin in a circle with their boats and get blessed, hoping they will all have a good season.

Then, when the two months are up, you haul all of your traps up and take them in. But, make sure you get all of your traps; because if someone sees one out there, and they know it is yours by the colour of your buoy, you get fined. That's another one of the rules and regulations.

I'm not going to be a fisherman, because the fishing business is going down, because there are no lobsters.