The drowning of a lobster fisherman in the Northumberland Strait overnight Wednesday has people in the community wondering how he got into trouble.

Jean Guy Maillet, 53, of Saint-Thomas-de-Kent, had gone out to check lobster traps in the Northumberland Strait at about 4 p.m. and failed to return home, RCMP Sgt. Jeff Johnston stated in a release.

Police were called at about 8 p.m. and his capsized boat was discovered early on Thursday morning, about 500 metres from Cocagne Island.

Several hours later, Maillet's body was found about three kilometres away with the help of a search and rescue helicopter.

Maillet was pulled from the water by police, with the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue at about 8:30 a.m, said Johnston.

Tri-County Ground Search and Rescue volunteers also assisted with the search.

The investigation continues.

Community devastated

Fishermen in the area say it's a sad day in the community.


The body of Jean Guy Maillet was discovered about three kilometres from Cocagne Island. (Google Maps)

"I feel bad for the family, his mother and the family especially. He's always around here, fishing mackerel here," said Jean Despres, a local fisherman who assisted in the search.

"He doesn't turn his back on anything. He'll go fish quahogs in the dune there. He was pretty brave to go over there, sail all that six miles, seven miles in that little boat to get some traps and get some lobster."

Fellow fisherman Joseph Allain says he's not sure what caused Maillet to get into trouble.

'He loved his family, he loved all the people around him, it's very sad to see him go this way. We will miss him terribly.' —Monique Melanson, sister

The weather was OK, he said.

But Maillet was using a small boat and only had 10 traps, which he was pulling up by hand.

"It was not too bad, I was out at eight o'clock in my boat, and it was not windy, but he was in a small boat, not a big boat — a scow they call it," Allain said.

According to his friends, Maillet had stopped fishing for 10 years, having given it up after being hit by a drunk driver.

This was his first year back on the water.

His sister, Monique Melanson, says fishing was a family tradition — Maillet's father and grandfather were fishermen.

"He loved his family, he loved all the people around him, it's very sad to see him go this way," Melanson said.

"We will miss him terribly."