On the job

Chad’s Refusal of the Call

emily.latimer November 14, 2019 223


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Chad Wilcox has a decision to make: will he take over his father’s lobster fishing license? Originally purchased for twenty-five cents at the post office, these licenses are now selling for upwards of one million dollars. In the tiny town of Main-a-Dieu, the easternmost in Nova Scotia, Chad lives with his mother and father. Lobster fishing is the multi-million dollar industry at the centre of the seaside town.

Chad Wilcox, 24, sits in his yard in Main-a-Dieu.

Lobster, once considered the poor man’s food, is having a moment in the east coast. Licenses are being passed down through generations or sold outside the family at exorbitant prices. The majority of Canada’s lobster catches come from Nova Scotia, an industry that brought in more than $750 million in 2018. Today, lobster is Nova Scotia’s most valuable seafood export commodity.

As lobster fishing becomes more lucrative and licenses continue to tick up in price, young fishers are being faced with difficult decisions on whether to pursue the family business and uphold the tradition of fishing through the generations. Should young fishers get in now before the price spikes further, or choose a different path?

Arnold Wilcox and his deckhand Darren Kennedy haul traps aboard the Unforgettable U Two.

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