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Fishing Community

The cod fishery was the back-bone of the economy of Bay de Verde since the first European settlers came here. This fishery was prosecuted in small boats within rowing distance around the Bay de Verde headland as well as the fishing grounds around Baccalieu Island. Fishermen used the traditional hand-line and to a lesser extent nets and seines. Then in the 1860's came the invention of the codtrap. In 1880 Edward Moore introduced the first codtrap to Bay de Verde. It was set in an area called The Sands in the middle of Backside by Jeremiah Woodrow and John Broaders and became an immediate success. The codtrap was the main fishing technology right up to the closure of the cod fishery in 1992.

A new type of boat had already been introduced at Bay de Verde since the early 1960's and as a result a new method of fishery emerged. This was the long-liner, a much larger boat of lengths which varied from 38 to 65 feet that could go farther off-shore. These boats fished various species using gill-nets and bottom trawl and catch rates sky-rocketed for many years. In the traditional fishery, fishermen had always waited for the fish to come to shore but now with the larger boats they could go to the off-shore fishing grounds where the fish congregated. As a result, the traditional near-shore fishery which waited for the cod to come to shore was practically decimated.

The late 1960's saw the emergence of another fishery in this area. This was the “snow crab” fishery which since the demise of the cod has proven to be the savior of rural communities in Newfoundland. At first, crab was strictly a long-liner fishery but since the “cod moratorium” the small inshore boats have also claimed their share and today “the under 35 foot fleet” is fishing for crab near-shore in the bays.

The long-liner fishery today has also expanded to include trawling for shrimp which has also become abundant in the waters around Newfoundland.

Since the inauguration of the Harbour Authority, millions of dollars have been spent on improvements to the waterfront. A new, much longer wharf has recently been constructed to replace the old wharf that had been there since the early 1950’s. Another new wharf adjacent to the launchway serves as an entrance way to the many floating wharves where small boats are moored. The north side of the harbour has seen a complete facelift with the construction of a new breakwater and a new dock extending all along Blundon’s Point. With the expansion of the processing plant by Quinlan Brothers and all the recent construction, the Bay de Verde waterfront has taken on a whole new look.

Crab & Shrimp are the major fisheries in Bay de Verde as they are in most of Newfoundland & Labrador