Bruce in kayak.

"We specialize in small group travel, which minimizes environmental impact, increases safety standards and allows for personalized, enriching and authentic experiences."

— Bruce Smith, founder and owner, Seascape Kayak Tours Inc.

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Posts Tagged ‘ocean community’

The ocean communityJune 13th, 2009

Yesterday it was cold and drizzly on Deer Island, but today the sun is showing its face, seabirds are calling across the Bay, and it’s beginning to look a lot more like summer. Soon, more and more visitors will arrive on the island as we gear up for the high season of July and August, when we’ll be running several trips per day.

Seascape’s tours take visitors past a series of herring weirs, a traditional method of fishing traced to the ancient Passamaquoddy Tribe that involves catching herring in a trap made from poles, brush and nets. Patterns of shadow and light on the water created by the weirs make for a beautiful paddling environment, graced by a sense of history and heritage.

BRUCE LEADS A GROUP PAST A HERRING WEIR, A SUSTAINABLE FISHING TRADITION IN THE BAY OF FUNDY.

BRUCE LEADS A GROUP PAST A HERRING WEIR, A SUSTAINABLE FISHING TRADITION IN THE BAY OF FUNDY.

Last season I was guiding a half-day sea kayaking experience around nearby Beans Island. Paddling around a point, I was expecting to land on our regular beach for a snack break. But to my amazement, I found that  a new weir had just been built, totally preventing us from pulling up on shore. 

Was I angry about someone building a weir at this site? No. Weir fishing is a highly sustainable fishery, one that falls in line with our own commitment to sustainability. The problem I had was the fact that no one bothered to pick up the phone to call and inform us that the weir was being built and that we might want to look for another beach to stop on. 

WEIRS PROVIDE PADDLERS WITH A SENSE OF PLACE WHEN THEY LEARN ABOUT THE LOCAL FISHING CULTURE.

WEIRS PROVIDE PADDLERS WITH A SENSE OF PLACE WHEN THEY LEARN ABOUT THE LOCAL FISHING CULTURE.

Educating visitors about the local fishing culture in the Quoddy Region is an essential part of Seascape’s commitment to providing opportunities for contact between visitors and coastal inhabitants as a means of involving local communities in tourism. But the values of an ecotourism kayak tour operator and a traditional fisherman are sometimes in conflict. 

Nevertheless, Seascape has a very strong philosophy of building community partnerships and connections. We try to work as closely as possible with fishermen and other stakeholders on the Bay of Fundy. As an eco-tour company, we may not agree with fishing methods utilized and the resulting environmental impacts, but we believe open dialogue is essential to the development of a baseline of common understanding. Hopefully such openness can and will lead to stakeholders working together to protect our common resource and thereby improve the heath of our coastal communities.

Open dialogue, mutual respect, understanding, awareness, acceptance. There is still more work to do… We will have to continue to try harder to bridge the gap between the fishing culture and ecotourism on the Bay. We also have to remember that we are all in this together. As Herman Melville said, “We cannot live for ourselves alone.”

Bruce

HERE THE WEIR LINES SUGGEST CALLIGRAPHY, ADDING A ZEN-LIKE BEAUTY TO THE BAY.

HERE THE LINES CREATED BY THE WEIR POLES SUGGEST CALLIGRAPHY, ADDING A ZEN-LIKE BEAUTY TO THE BAY.

ALL PHOTOS IN THIS ENTRY COURTESY OF FRANK POSTMA.