Called « unsung heroes of Island economy »
ABRAM-VILLAGE – Nov. 30, 2016 – The work done by farmers is easy to see since they have huge farms and large fields. Other business people have workshops or stores that are readily accessible to the public. But fishers do most of their work at sea, away from the public eye. Their work often goes unnoticed even though it sustains one of the Island’s most important industries, generating about $192 million in the past year alone.
Wanting to recognize the vast contribution of these « unsung heroes of the Island economy », the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI organized the Francophone Pioneer Fishermen’s Luncheon Tuesday, in Abram-Village. Fishers who are aged 50 years and over who have at least 20 years of experience at sea were invited to attend.
The 32 fishers (including one woman) from the Evangeline and West Prince regions who participated in the luncheon got to enjoy a delicious four-course seafood meal. Organizers and sponsors thanked, congratulated and heaped praise upon the fishers before presenting each one of them a certificate of recognition for their numerous years of contributing to the Island fishing and tourism industries. Fishers present had anywhere from 23 to 71 years of experience.
As host Raymond J. Arsenault noted in his opening comments, « If it wasn’t for fishers like you, our little Prince Edward Island would be drastically different today. » One by one, the sponsors explained how they benefit from the industry, how the fishers’ products give fish plants the opportunity to create hundreds of jobs every year and how Island stores and dealerships make a living thanks in part to fishers.
The fishers themselves greatly appreciated the gesture of recognition. They also got a chance to renew old ties with fishers they hadn’t seen in a long time. As the guests arrived, they were entertained by musical fishers Amand and Normand Arsenault, and the latter’s wife, Paula Arsenault. During the meal, the recorded music of late fishing fiddler Eddy Arsenault was played in the background.
During the ceremonies, as the host introduced each of the fishers with an image on the big screen and a short biography, he took advantage of the opportunity to tease a few of them and to get a few chuckles out of the crowd. Retired fisherman Amand Arsenault also got a few laughs with his stories. And to close off the event, the crowd of 74 people was invited to sing the unofficial hymn of Acadian fishers, « Partons la mer est belle ».
Twelve other fishers who could not attend the event will also receive a certificate.
The Chamber was able to organize this event thanks to contributions from sponsors PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Acadian Supreme, Mermaid Marine Products, Arsenault’s Fish Mart, Wellington Rural Action Centre and Maddix Seafood Connection.
CUTLINE: The Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI, represented in the picture, in the back row, by board member Jeannette Arsenault and spokesperson Martin Marcoux, had the great pleasure of honoring 32 fishers during the Francophone Pioneer Fishermen’s Luncheon in Abram-Village Tuesday. They are seen with the two fishers who’ve been at sea the longest, from left, Delsie DesRoches of St. Felix (60 years) and Alcide Arsenault (71 years), along with the only female fisher, Florence Pitre (23 years as a helper).
For more information:
Raymond J. Arsenault
Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI
(902) 854-3439, Ext. 231