mi-ns-concerned-fisherman

Hudson Trenholm says most of the harvesters in his area are honest, but he worries that could change if enforcement is reduced. (CBC)

Fishermen who have been served by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada office in Wallace say they're shocked the location will be closed.

The department told CBC News earlier this week that the office in Wallace — along with others in Port Hood and Baddeck — will be consolidated into "larger, better resourced offices."

Hudson Trenholm, a fisherman in Pugwash, said news of the closure comes at a time when conservation and protection of fish should be at the forefront.

"They're around here and they're always checking to make sure everything is on the up," he told CBC News on Wednesday.

"If they take them down the line, they can probably find lots of work for them down there but the trouble is, we'll have nobody here."

Wallace has two officers at its Fisheries and Oceans Canada office, both of whom declined to be interviewed on Wednesday. It's not known when the office will close.

Trenholm said most of the harvesters in the area are honest, but he worries that could change if enforcement is reduced.

"Lots of other fish around up the rivers, they're chasing guys that were poaching salmon sometimes and bass and everything else," he said.

"They always seemed to have somewhere to go and something to do, that's for sure."

Ron MacNutt, a councillor for the Municipality of Cumberland, said he was also surprised by the announcement and had no previous knowledge of a possible closure.

"I've talked to a few fishermen and it's never come up so it's quite disappointing, especially at this time of year when they're out there struggling trying to make a living in too short a season," he said.

MacNutt said the Fisheries and Oceans Canada office in Wallace was recently renovated, expanded and a large parking lot was paved — but now the officers will have to travel to do their enforcement work.

"I'm wondering where the savings is going to be, especially where that particular office covers such a large area," he said.