Video by the Musée de la mémoire vivante
Informants: Josée Malenfant and Simon Beaulieu, eel fishers, and Léopold Malenfant
Date: November 14, 2016
Location: Rivière-Ouelle (Québec)
It’s time to remove all of the equipment used to fish eel on Josée Malenfant and Simon Beaulieu’s property.
A man uses an iron bar to uncover the base of the fishing nets on the foreshore.
[Narrator] Léopold Malenfant clears away all the sand, seaweed and mud that has accumulated at the base of the nets with the tide.
We can see the hands of another man cutting the iron wire used to hold together the stakes and crosspieces of the weir. A woman stands next to him and takes each piece of wire from him.
Meanwhile, Simon Beaulieu undoes all the pieces of wire used to fasten the stakes and crosspieces together. Josée Malenfant takes the wire fastenings from him one by one.
Standing next to a collecting box, Josée Malenfant grasps a chain hanging from the bucket of a tractor. She winds the chain twice around a stake and backs up. The tractor’s bucket is raised and pulls out the stake.
Simon uses a chain rather than a mechanical device to remove the stakes. All fishers have their particular technique for building or dismantling a weir.
Simon Beaulieu checks the chains wound around a collecting box and attached to a tractor bucket. He climbs into the tractor cab and raises the bucket. He leaves the foreshore with the collecting box in the bucket.
Simon also uses chains to attach the collecting boxes when he transports them to his property, where they will be stored for the winter.
It’s fascinating to watch everyone’s non-verbal language. A look or a gesture lets each person know what he or she has to do. The cooperation is remarkable.
Simon Beaulieu removes the bourrole from a collecting box and moves it by rolling it on the ground. Josée Malenfant disentangles the cables and nets on the foreshore.
Ansillons, bourroles, floaters and collecting boxes – everything is gathered up. No debris is left on the foreshore once the fishing season is over.