Just in time for the release date of my book, Cod Collapse: The Rise and Fall of Newfoundland’s Saltwater Cowboys, Canadian Geographic has run an exclusive excerpt from the book online.
“The day the cod collapsed,” tells the story about fifth-generation fisherman turned boat-builder, Eugene (Gene) Maloney. Like many fishers, Gene opted to take early retirement when the Canadian government closed the cod fishery in July 1992. And yet, more than a quarter of a century later, now in his late eighties, Gene still regularly wakes up well before dawn to assess the day’s weather. Old habits die hard, as it were.
When I asked him to relive the fateful day former federal fisheries minister John Crosbie came to his town of Bay Bulls, NL, the heartache is as present today as it surely was twenty-five years ago. It was the day before the cod fishery closure, but fishers and plantworkers were aware of the grim news that was coming. The emotions boiled over in confrontation after confrontation between Crosbie and the hundreds who had come to gather at the Bay Bulls wharf that day. Gene was away from the ruckus, spending the morning as he always did, heaving cod traps. But when he returned home for lunch (what Newfoundlanders refer to as dinner), his wife told him the cod fishery was closed.
“I didn’t know,” Gene told me then, recounting the day. He says it took him the better part of the next week to retrieve his traps. One by one, each trap signified an end to an era. Just imagine, all your livelihood, all you’ve ever known, cut short in one fell swoop.
Read the excerpt in Canadian Geographic. And read more stories of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who’s lives were forever changed after July 2, 1992 in “Cod Collapse: The Rise and Fall of Newfoundland’s Saltwater Cowboys.”
Finally, a note of thanks to Canadian Geographic‘s Editor-in-Chief Aaron Kylie and my publicist Karen McMullin at Nimbus Publishing for making this excerpt happen!