What would happen if fishing and hunting was banned in villages along “The Coast”? I would say there wouldn’t be many people living on the coast. Food would be hard to obtain, a source of income would vanish and important traditions would be lost.
In St. Augustine, the price for groceries is normally high. It not such a big deal now that people have well paying jobs and smaller families, but back in the 50’s and 60’s, hunting and fishing was the main source of income. These activities were also the biggest source of food products. In the summer, men would go cod fishing with traps. The fall was the best time for trapping and hunting. They would head up the river on foot and by canoe. Once they had gotten their furs and meat for the winter, they would come back to town. If residents had to buy all of their food, it would be very difficult.
Fishing is still an important economic activity on the Coast. We have the crab fishermen who provide to the fish plants. There the employees clean and package for shipping. Then there are local lobster fishermen who sell their lobsters to the local population and/or to fish plants along the Coast. Then there are scallop farms and muscle farms where residents are hired to make sure that the products are clean and large enough to sell.
In St. Augustine, fishing and hunting isn’t only about the food or a source of income; it is a way of life. Now a day, the fresh moose meat is a bonus! When you and your hunting partner heads up for moose, it’s about the experience! Whether you get a moose or not, it’s all about the trip. It’s turned into a tradition over recent years for many residents of St. Augustine. To be able to head up the river for a few days with your family and friends, and to be all alone miles and miles away from civilization, while fly fishing in the rapids, searching for ptarmigan in the spruce trees or setting snares for rabbits – it is an experience of a life time! The late night suppers and early morning coffee is irreplaceable.
Hunting and fishing in St. Augustine, as well as other villages along the Coast, is important traditionally and economically; and it has also become a connection between father and son, grandfather and grandson. It becomes a story to tell to future generations and children of my own.
Jayden McKinnon, secondary 5, École St. Augustine School, Mrs. Crystal’s ELA class