A big catch

Stephen Roberts stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca
Published on September 2, 2014
Russell Layden and Andrew Saulter of Forteau stand proudly with one of their hauls: a 165-pound halibut caught off of L’Anse-au-Clair bank on August 20. Layden and Saulter, along with three other crews of small vessel, in-shore fishermen, partook in the halibut fishery for the first time from the Labrador coast. Halibut are regularly caught on the Newfoundland side of the Strait of Belle Isle but until this year, no one caught any on the Labrador side. 
Photo courtesy of Jean Layden

Halibut caught in Labrador for first time

Russell Layden and Andrew Saulter found a 165-pound prize on their hook when they went fishing for halibut.

The two in-shore fishermen from Forteau hauled in a gigantic, six-foot long fish off L’Anse-au-Clair bank on August 20.

It was the largest halibut caught off these shores, in the first year of the halibut fishery in Southern Labrador.

According to Layden, they probably could have gotten a halibut license before but they simply didn’t think there were any off these shores.

However, four different crews, including Saulter and Layden, decided to give it a try, given the level of success found on the Newfoundland side of the Strait of Belle Isle.

“We didn’t know if we could catch it here or not,” he says. “We had the license and most people said they were going to Newfoundland to catch their quota but we figured if we don’t try here, we’ll never know if there’s any here.”

The quota was 2100 pounds for a vessel with two fishermen. The halibut fishery was open from August 18 to 24. Layden and Saulter caught their quota in seven days.

“It was a pretty good fishery, actually,” says Layden. “It was something we wasn’t ready for but next year you’ll know more about what you got to do and what to expect. You’ll be better prepared for another year.”