Thursday, September 10, 2009

Part 3: Interviews from Sointula - LEK from BC's Central Coast

Part 3 of a 6 Part Series - by Kirie McMurchy

I learned so much during my interview project with Living Oceans Society, and I wish I could share every ounce of knowledge with all of you. However, I’ve been given a limited word count for these blog postings. One thing I think is essential to share is how hard but rewarding most people seem to find the fishing lifestyle. The following excerpt from my interview with Rebekah Pesika, an artist and prawn fisherman living in Sointula conveys that sentiment quite well. She’s been running her own boats for many years and just this past season, she took her six month old daughter out for the season prawn fishing with her.

Excerpt of interview with Rebekah Pasika (contributed with permission)

"[The fishing lifestyle] is very free, it’s more organic. I think that a lot of people don’t really realize how hard it is when the fishing is actually happening, how hard the job is, to function with a total lack to sleep, to be in a dangerous environment, to have to keep quality control for your product, to have to push yourself physically to work as fast as you can in order to catch as much as you can in a short amount of time. That’s how fishing works. It teaches people willpower [and] patience. The other thing you learn is how to deal with people in close quarters for long periods of time. So there’s this whole real good understanding of how people work, and how to function, almost like a family, you become like a family out there. You can’t be a prude or you can’t be really self-conscious because when you’re going to the toilet and let out a big fart you know there’s someone sitting two inches from your ass on the other side of the wall."

"One of the reasons I stayed in fishing too, I like fishing, but sometimes I think it would be great to do other things but I just don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. I don’t care. Work is work. Whether you’re working at whatever, it’s never fun all the time. Fishing sucks lots, it’s hard. But it’s good enough for me. Something about contentment or even happiness has a lot to do with not necessarily being satisfied all the time, it’s more that it speaks to your heart. Fishing speaks to my heart, I feel like it’s an appropriate thing for me to spend my life doing as a career. That’s what you’ve got to do. I think a job is like a relationship you’ve got to pick something that suits you but it doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect all the time. The ocean and the wind and basically the earth dictate your decisions and you totally live around it. It’s really, primitive. Humans are primitive, we try [not] to be but we’re still primitive."

"The way [Sointula] used to be would’ve probably, from my understanding, been one of the most lively cultural examples of the fishing industry because everybody was fishing and the whole town revolved around it. That would’ve been really cool. It feels really good to be working at something that’s so tangible. With fishing, it’s not like you’re marketing some plastic thing that’s made in another country or pushing papers. There’s just a lot of emotional reward in something like fishing and to have the industry and a culture and a town just totally wrapped around that whole way of life would be pretty neat.

Kirie McMurchy is a Guest contributor to coastal voices blog. If you have Local Knowledge about the ocean or about living on the Central Coast of British Columbia - we want to hear from you! Contact us at

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