Matthew Jessoís Interview
- How long has it been since you last fished?
Its been forty years since I last fished.
- How many years did you fish?
I fished for twenty years.
- How old were you when you began fishing for a living?
I first began fishing when I was thirteen years old.
- How old were you when you stopped fishing for a living?
I was thirty-three years old when I stopped fishing.
- Did you seek further employment after you stopped fishing? If so, what kind of employment did you seek?
Yes I sought further employment after I stopped fishing. I worked at Bowater, cutting pulp; Stephenville Air Force base, and in Labrador, doing construction.
- What was the reason behind your stopping fishing for a living? Was it because of age, sickness, etc., or was it for another reason entirely different?
The reason why I stopped fishing was because I didnít like to fish. The work was too hard, there was no equipment, and there was no money in it.
- Was fishing at that time the main source of income for people in your community?
Yes, fishing was the main source of income for people in my community.
- Around what area (location) did you fish?
I fished in Sheaves Cove.
- What did you fish? (Lobster, crab, cod, etc.)
I fished cod, herring, and lobster.
- What equipment did you use for fishing? (Maybe comment on how the equipment has changed over the years. For example, the use of hydraulics over the last few years).
I fished in a row dory with oars.
- Was there a lot of fish to catch at that time? (Try to get a rough estimate at the catch size)
There was lots of fish. You could easily get five hundred to a thousand pounds a day.
- Do you miss fishing for a living? What aspects of it do you miss the most? Why?
No I donít miss fishing because I didnít like to fish.
- Was it an occupation that you enjoyed to do or was it an occupation that you had no other choice but to do?
It was a occupation I had no other choice to do.
- Was fishing an occupation that was kept up from generation to generation in your family?
Yes, fishing was an occupation that was kept up from generation to generation. My father fished.
- What kind of struggles did you have to face everyday when you went on the water to fish? (Ex. Weather, lost or damage of equipment, etc.).
The struggles I faced was bad weather.
- Was the fishing season the same in the past as it is today? (Mention difference if any)
No. There was no seasons or quotas. You fished when you wanted.
- How many people fished at the location where you fished?
There was twenty people fishing at the location where I fished.
- Do you have any fishing stories that you will like to share? (Try to get at least one)
One day, me and my brother went out. We had fifteen traps in the dory. It started to rain with lightning, then a huge gail of wind hit. We had to throw the traps overboard in a pile for the dory not to sink. A small fishing boat came and pulled us to land, so we could be safe to get back to shore.
- Other additional information that may be mentioned throughout the interview.
- fish was split and salted, then dried in the sun.
- a big boat went around the Bay collecting dried fish every July.
- people had no fear. People only lost nerve with age.
- there was no radios or t.v.ís, so people didnít see the hardships that they could face on the water. They also couldnít get the weather. People had to rely on their own intuition. People would just look outside their windows, if the water looked okay they went fishing. If the water looked to bad, they stayed ashore.
- bit saws were used to make gear because there was no mills to get wood cut up in.
- you had to go in the woods to get dry wood to make buoys.
- used box saws to cut wood, since there was no chainsaws.
- there was also no nails, so you had to use wooden plugs instead.
- people fished from three in the morning to nine in the night.
- three cents a pound for lobster.
- 2.5 cents a pound for fish.