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Fishing for Success: making the girls of Newfoundland the future of the fishery

Reporter Rebekah Nolan holding up a three foot-long cod fish that was caught by Kimberley Orren
Credit Leo Hearn
Reporter Rebekah Nolan holding up a three foot-long cod fish that was caught by Kimberley Orren

Associate Producer Rebekah Nolan says, Newfoundland’s identity has always been tied to the fishery.

It is the thing that brought the first settlers from England and Ireland about 400 years ago, and it continues to be a vital part of the province’s economy.

What was initially a local and sustainable industry, transformed to an industrialized megalith that was feeding people all over the world.

This change, along with other environmental and political factors, eventually led to the Cod Moratorium in 1992.

The moratorium was a tragedy for both the Newfoundland economy, and way of life. The fishery used to be accessible to everyone, and it formed a vital part of the Newfoundlander identity.

Today, most people are only allowed to fish a few weeks out of the year, during what is known locally as the Food Fishery. The heavy regulations have made it hard to pass on the traditional fishing practices of Newfoundland to the Province’s youth.

Kimberley Orren, of The Island Rooms of Petty Harbour, has started a program dedicated to teaching the children of Newfoundland about traditional ways of fishing.

She has stepped into the role of tradition bearer, passing on the traditional knowledge that the kids would have learned from their parents and grandparents if they had lived before the moratorium.

More recently she has started a program called Girls Who Fish, focused on getting girls and women more involved in the fishery. 

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