PEI

Sandbar blocking West Point Harbour concerns scallop fishermen

A sandbar has blocked the mouth of the West Point Harbour in West Point, P.E.I. and fishermen say they are concerned with what may have accumulated further out in the entrance.

A 12-metre sandbar that formed over 3 weeks is being removed from the harbour

A 12 metre wide sandbar is blocking entry into the West Point Harbour in West Point, P.E.I. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

A sandbar has blocked the mouth of the West Point. P.E.I., harbour, and fishermen say they are concerned with what may have accumulated further out in the entrance.

The sandbar started forming in early April and within three weeks, it has completely blocked the entrance to the harbour, estimated to be 12 metres (40 feet) wide.  

"I was shocked to see what was starting to take place, then over the next three weeks it come right across the mouth of the harbour where the boats come in, from one side right to the other side where our breakwater is, the harbour was completely impassable. It only took about three weeks for that to take place," said Paul Wood, chairperson of the West Point Harbour Authority.

After a meeting with staff from Small Crafts Harbours, a contractor was hired to remove the sand.

"They were amazed to see what had happened, I've been fishing in the harbour for 26 years, 28 years, and I never seen anything like this."

May 2 start

Wood said they need the work to be finished before the start to the scallop fishery on May 2 but he worries once the sandbar is removed, they will find more sand further out in the entrance to the harbour.

"Scallop boats starts May 2, two years ago we'd have to come in early, if we didn't come in early, we were stranded out in the harbour," said Wood.

"Probably this year some boats, we may have to go town to tie our boats up, we're not sure yet, we'll find out once we get our boats in the water, once we  get the hole dug out for the entrance, we'll just see what water, how much water is there, probably not going to be very much, I'm pretty much 100 per cent sure about that."

Wood said he expected the sand removal inside the harbour to be complete this week.

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown

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