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We are now closed for the season. The museum will reopen June 1, 2024.

AGM: Friday, October 27, 2-4 pm

Museum Hall

Fishing Preparing Boat Building Leaving Home

The primary industry of the people of the LaHave Islands was fishing. The men of the islands would either fish with their Bush Island Boats or they would join fishing schooners and go out to sea. Riverport was one of the closest fishing ports to the LaHave Islands. It was located on the eastern side of the LaHave River and was a frequent destination for men from the Islands looking for work on fishing schooners out at sea. Because of this, it was common for people from the LaHave Islands to move to Riverport, and many men wound up married to women from the town on the opposite banks of the river.

On shore, the people who did not go out on boats to fish tended to work in the fish plants in the area. One such plant was the G.E. Romeky & Co. Fish Plant in West Dublin on the mainland near the LaHave Islands. There were also plants in Shag Harbour and Port Medway. The LaHave Islands were home to two herring dressing stations. Herring dressing stations were places where fishermen could dress their catch themselves and be paid for their work. These stations were created for times when there was too much fish for the larger fish plants to do all the work themselves. The LaHave Island Dressing stations were located on Bush Island, which was run by Harris Bush, and Bells Island,

The West Dublin fish plant started out as a shipyard. Ronald Currie wound up buying the site and had it converted into a fish plant. Mr. Currie later sold the plant to Captain M. Parks and then to G.E. Romkey. Mr. Romkey constructed more buildings at the plant to handle the increase in business that occurred.

There were four main products produced at the fish plant in West Dublin, and of those marinated herring was the most prominent. In addition to the herring, boneless cod, dried pollock, haddock, cod, and shredded fish for fish cakes was also produced.

The men who worked at the fish plant were often the same men who caught the fish at sea. They would go out at 3:00 am to bring in their nets and hope to arrive at the fish plant by 10:00 am so they could put in a full day's work there. This schedule would go on for two or three months while the herring was in season.

Men unloading fish at the G.E. Romkey Fish Plant into a scow. Wally Bush is to the far right of the picture.

The plant would be open all-year round, but the busy season was from May to September when herring was in season. By September, only small herring would be present so the fish plant began to process salt cod and other dried fish. During the herring season, as much as 150,000 pounds of fish would be dropped of at the plant in a day. The employees would work from 8 am to as late as 10 pm on a busy day like that.

Information on the G.E. Romeky & Co. Fish Plant is taken from an interview of Gordon E. Romkey Junior of Crescent Beach preformed by Christina McCory. Mr. Romkey was a foreman at the fish plant until it closed.