Video by the Musée de la mémoire vivante
Informant: Simon Beaulieu, eel fisher
Date: October 16, 2016
Location: Rivière-Ouelle (Québec)
In the 1940s, Simon Beaulieu’s grandfather had fishing seasons in which eel catches were very low.
Simon Beaulieu leans on the trailer hitched to the back of his tractor and talks about previous fishing seasons. He is standing in front of the leader of his weir, which is made of netting.
[Simon Beaulieu] At one point in the 1940s, there was almost no fishing. Some people continued, but most had stopped. They were no longer catching anything. I know that when my grandfather stopped, I think he’d caught about 40 eels in the fall. After that, things picked up again in the 1960s.
[Interviewer] Does anyone know what caused the decline?
[S.B.] Many things. Today, we sometimes say it’s the dams and all the things that have been done in the river. They [the scientists] think that ocean currents also have an effect. Perhaps there are years when ocean currents change. And perhaps there are periods when they aren’t driven as far inshore (he shrugs).