Nfld. & Labrador·Video

Land & Sea: Nicaragua — the Newfoundland connection

Follow three fishermen from Renews and Portland Creek, Newfoundland, as they travel to El Astillero, Nicaragua to teach fishermen there to use cod traps to catch mackerel.

Three Newfoundland fishermen teach Nicaraguans how to use a cod trap

In this archival Land & Sea episode from 1988, three Newfoundland fishermen travelled to Nicaragua to teach local fishermen how to use cod traps to catch mackerel. (CBC)

During the civil war in Nicaragua, three Newfoundland fishermen — Sam Caines, Bernard Farrell, and Bernard Martin — travelled to the Central American country with Oxfam to teach fishermen there how to build and operate a cod trap.

It was the trip of a lifetime for them and no doubt for the Land & Sea crew led by Bill Kelly, filmed in 1988. In episode one, the men are seen in their home communities of Renews and Portland Creek, preparing to be away from their families for a couple of months.

You also see their arrival in the small fishing community of El Astillero as they start to work on creating a modified cod trap for the local mackerel fishery. 

In the second episode, the bonds they've formed with the Nicaraguans are evident, as is their skill with creating and operating the cod trap — even in shallow dugout canoes in rough Pacific waters.

There's a going-away party, where Farrell plays Wild Colonial Boy on his accordian for the whole community.

Finally, the Nicaraguans come to Newfoundland and fish out of dories in decidedly colder waters.

To see more Land & Sea episodes, subscribe to the CBC NL YouTube channel.


Angela Antle

Host, Atlantic Voice

Angela is a producer who works from St. John's and is the host of Atlantic Voice, a Sunday morning documentary program on CBC Radio.