||The variety and abundance of fish and
shellfish in Island waters has always been an
extraordinary feature of Prince Edward Island and the
waters that surround itmost notably cod, hake,
halibut, herring, mackerel, salmon, eel, lobster, oyster,
and clam. Long before the arrival of European settlers,
the Mikmaq of the Northeast Atlantic region came to
the Island in summer in order to fish. Eventually, they
established a few permanent settlements here. In the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, French fishers and
hunters visited the Island (known to the French as Ile
St. Jean) on a frequent but irregular basis.
During the eighteenth century, the European settlement of the Island was built around the fishery, with French businessmen establishing commercial fishing villages and engaging in the export of the rich sea harvest to be reaped in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Located near the eastern end of the northern coast of the province, the community of St. Peters was, for many years, the largest settlement on the Island, thanks to the rich fishery in the waters in and outside the bay.
The fishing industry has remained a vital contributor to Prince Edward Island and its growing economy. Fishing and related activities employ thousands of Islanders and generate economic spinoffs for other local businesses. Fishing also plays an important role in rural Island communities, defining their heritage and way of life. Today, the fishery is a diversified and vital sector of Prince Edward Islands economy, incorporating fishers, fish-farmers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers as well as boat and equipment dealers, equipment manufacturers, and researchers in technology and nutrition.
Glossary of Fish Species in Prince Edward Island.
Aquaculture is newest complement to the fishing industry. The cultivation of highly sought-after shellfish products, such as mussels and oysters, is a lucrative and environmentally sustainable fishery for Prince Edward Island.
It is frequently remarked that the first person to eat a lobster must have been awfully hungry! But Islanders are quick to point out that the lobsters crusty exterior hides a sweet interior that pleases many palates.
The deep waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the multitude of sheltered bays and estuaries all along the perimeter of Prince Edward Island constitute an ideal habitat for many shellfish species, including scallops, crabs, oysters, clams, and quahog.
Prince Edward Islands long history of inshore and offshore fishing makes the recent crisis of Atlantic Canadas groundfishery all the more disruptiveto the economy, to peoples livelihood and to communities heritage.
The emergence of markets for carrageenan has been a boon to communities in Western Prince Edward Island. Old-fashioned methods are used to harvest the plants from which this substance necessary to high-tech food processing is extracted.