Long may your big jib draw, Torbay fishermen

A new piece of equipment means fishermen in Torbay aren't doing all the heavy lifting anymore.

'It means the world to me. No more strain on my back,' says one fisherman

Fishermen in Torbay say the new jib crane makes a big difference. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

A new, and long-awaited, jib crane is taking a load off fishermen in Torbay.

"It means the world to me. No more strain on my back," says John Waterman, who frequently hauls up boxes of cod weighing 150 pounds.

The new piece of equipment comes courtesy of Paradise-based Steelfab Industries, which is lending the $50,000 crane to the fishermen for the foreseeable future.

"We had a jib crane that we weren't using at the time, so we put two and two together," said Noel George, who is with the company. 

Noel George says Steelfab Industries was only too happy to lend out the jib crane, since the company wasn't using it. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

DFO said no — for now

It was in August when fishermen in Tapper's Cove called on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to ante up the money for the crane.

However, the department's policy requires communities to land 50 tonnes of fish for three consecutive years in order to get the machinery — meaning it would be 2018 at the earliest before Torbay could qualify.

There were two jib cranes in Torbay when the inshore fishery was going strong, but that changed in 2013 when DFO ruled fisherman weren't catching enough —  so the cranes disappeared.

That's not the case anymore and the equipment is needed, insisted fisherman Tom Martin.

Fisherman Tom Martin says Tapper's Cove needs a permanent jib crane. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

"We got a cod fishery coming back, like I'm bringing my fish to the plant now. I goes up Friday and picks up my paycheque. There's no better feeling in the world," he said. 

For now, the group is thankful for the generosity of Steelfab Industries, but still wants a jib crane to be a permanent fixture in Tapper's Cove — on DFO's dime.

With files from Mark Quinn and Ryan Cooke