Fishermen rid lake of invasive species for good cause
About 100 fishermen got some pesky invasive fish out of the water to raise money for the Lake Vaughan volunteer fire department this weekend.
The second annual Chain Pickerel Tournament was held in Yarmouth County Saturday to raise money for a new pumper truck, and the bonus was getting rid of invasive pickerel in Lake Vaughan.
They raised more than $2,000 on Saturday for the new truck. The truck dates from the 1980s and in recent years has failed twice on the way to fires.
Martial d'Entremont, a volunteer firefighter who organized the event, said the truck costs a total of $200,000. It's already under construction in Ontario and will be delivered later this year.
"That is our main truck, our main piece of equipment that can pump out lots of water and that we can branch off many hoses from so that firefighters can fight the fire from different angles," d'Entremont said. "Interior attack as well as exterior attack, all running from one truck, so it's a very, very important piece of equipment."
D'Entremont organized 46 boats, and almost 100 fishermen, who brought back boatloads of pickerel.
They then had to figure out what to do with more than 136 kilograms of fish that normally people don't eat.
D'Entremont said the fish might have gone for use as bear or lobster bait, but he'd rather be sure they weren't being wasted.
"The fish is very bland, there's not a whole lot of taste to it. It's very bony. It's very oily, being born and raised on the side of the ocean," said d'Entremont. "I guess if I want a fish, I'll find a good fresh haddock."
But Sue Le, who helped with the event along with her family, said it's all in the preparation. They took charge of all of the fish.
Le said that where she grew up in Vietnam, many dishes are prepared with a fish similar to pickerel. There's a lot of work in the preparation.
Her family would grind all the fish by hand, finely chop them, form the meat into patties and freeze them.
"We worked for two hours. Now, another two hours. But we're not done them all, just one third," Le said, adding that the Vietnamese families in the area will ensure none of the pickerel goes to waste.