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Gaspé Crab Fishers Enjoy First Visit To This Region

The crab fishing vessel, Pierre-Sebastien I, dockside in Port aux Basques on Wednesday, April 14. – © René J. Roy / Wreckhouse Press Inc.

PORT AUX BASQUES – A crabbing vessel made port last week to offload their catch of crab. The crew from Gaspé only spoke French, but were very friendly and welcoming.

Boarding the Pierre Sebastien I was quite challenging, as winds on Tuesday, Apr. 13 were quite high even in relative safety of the harbour. The crew were enjoying a meal of sausage, potato, pasta and coffee in the boat’s small galley.

Felix, a young crewman around 25 years old, did his best to accommodate this reporter’s limited French skills. He did manage to clarify that the boat fishes for crab in the Gulf waters, and have to offload frequently in Port aux Basques. Crab fishers have been offloading at the wharf for the past three years, but up until then there had been no history of crab fishing within the region and no expectation that crab fishers would offload at the Port aux Basques wharf.

This evening Phillipe is the cook, scrambling around the small galley while relaying his answers to Felix who gamely did his best to translate.

“We leave tomorrow night. It will take us about 12 hours to get there, and all in all we will be out there about a week,” managed Felix with a hearty smile.

The Pierre-Sebastien I will return to Port aux Basques with another load of crab this week, which will be only the second time they offload here, with last week’s visit being their first.

Despite last week’s Facebook posts expressing worry about crabbers coming through the town during a pandemic, Felix says they have had no visitors or onlookers come to see them to talk about it.

The crew is complying with all mandatory COVID-19 regulations. They are only allowed to go to ashore for a quick shower and in compliance with pandemic protocols. Despite that, Felix said that they are indeed enjoying their visit.

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