Fire destroys fishing boats in northern N.B.
Published Sunday, May 5, 2013 9:26PM ADT
Lobster season has come to an abrupt halt for a group of fishermen in Northern New Brunswick.
There’s nothing more than the burned out hulls of five lobster boats at the Tabusintac Wharf.
“Oh yeah, it was eerie,” says fishermen Robbie Wishart. “You don’t very often come down to the wharf and see that.”
Fire crews were called just after 3 a.m. Saturday morning. The fire was too advanced for any of the boats to be saved, but Wishart and others on the wharf managed to move eight other boats that were in the path of the fire.
“We came down and all we could do then was clear the boats away from the ones that were already burning, so the rest wouldn’t burn,” explains Wishart. “There’s a couple of them that got pretty bad scorching, but we’re able to keep it to just the five boats.”
Jason Stewart’s boat was of the vessels moved out of harms way.
“Very grateful,” exclaims Stewart. “It’s my livelihood; if it wasn’t for that my boat would have been gone too.”
Last weekend crews in Northern New Brunswick were getting ready to set their traps, now after one week of fishing, these fishermen will rent boats to finish their season.
For today, Stewart paid a good deed forward and allowed one of the crews to use his boat to retrieve their gear.
“I’ll do whatever I can from here on out to help them save their season anyway,” says Stewart. “It’s hard to fish with no boat.”
RCMP investigators are still looking for a cause.
“Right now the scene is very complicated because the boats are still in the water,” explains RCMP officer Sergeant Rick Bernard in Saint John. “The fishermen from the wharf are out fishing today so the investigation is taking some time to determine what indeed happened.
There is also a serious environmental concern.
The boats were ready to head out at daybreak, each filled with at least 500 litres of fuel.
All five boats are insured but the lobster season isn’t. Low prices mean many of the fishermen who lost their boats don’t know if they are going to be able to make ends meet. Now they’re not sure what they’re going to do.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis