Fishing History

Fishing was always the main employment for the people of La Scie. Most of the men spent long hours fishing off the islands surrounding the settlement. In 1891 there were 104 residents in La Scie, 32 of whom were fishermen. In that year the fishermen landed cod, salmon and herring worth $3,961.00. This was a very large amount of money at that time. By 1911 there were 429 people (72 families) living in the community. Among the fishermen there were six office workers, four farmers, four lumberers, three mechanics and two merchants. Most of the 72 families fished for a living. Their catch included cod, herring, salmon, seals and a small landing of lobster.

Early fish buyers included R. F. Bartlett, the Fishermen's Union Trading Company, La Scie Cooperative Society and Chipp and Company. These companies were all located on the west side of the harbour. In 1930 Fisheries Products Limited opened a fish plant which paid the fishermen 3 cents per pound for cod. The plant was only opened for 5 years. Bartlett's took over the machinery but never used it. R. F. Bartlett Company used their 20-ton capacity schooner to collect fish from local fishermen from Horse Islands and Brents Cove.

In 1948 the La Scie Cooperative society was formed, it had a total of 148 members. The Society also bought cod and salmon from the local fishermen.

July, 1960 saw the opening of a new fishplant with 140 employees processing frozen fillets. Job Brothers and Co. Ltd opened up another plant in 1963 and also took salmon along with the codfish. National Sea Products bought the plant from Job Brothers and Co. Ltd in the late 1970's. It employed 500 people in 1978, and in 1981 it employed 665 people. That year 16 million pounds of fish was processed at the plant. Approximately 40 percent of the fish was landed at La Scie. The rest came from 12 other communities on the peninsula. During that year fish was bought from 743 fishermen who operated 316 small boats and 28 longliners.

During the 1984 fishing season Nat Sea purchased fish from 932 fisherman, 153 of whom were based in La Scie, while the rest were from the other communities on the Baie Verte Peninsula. Peak employment at that time in the plant was 700 people for the processing of cod, herring, flounder, squid, turbot, mackerel, and capelin. In 1989 the plant processed 22 million pounds of fish.

La Scie once received most supplies by coastal boat until the roads were built. The extending and paving of the roads made a big difference to the development and expansion of the town.


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