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Low loonie means good sales for Nova Scotia fishing industry

Eric D'Entremont, in Pubnico, Yarmouth County, N.S., says that his community is thriving with the low value of the loonie. It means more sales to the U.S. for them.
Fishing boats loaded with lobster traps head out from Eastern Passage, N.S., in 2012. (Canadian Press)

The falling Canadian dollar can make many of us fearful of economic uncertainty, but some industries favour a lower loonie due to the increase in business from our neighbours to the south.

Eric D'Entremont, a fisherman from Pubnico in Yarmouth County, N.S., shared the specific advantages of a lower dollar on the fishing industry with our guest host Suhana Meharchand.

Eric D'Entremont, in Pubnico, Yarmouth County, NS, says that his community is thriving with the low value of the loonie. It means more sales to the US for them. 3:28

Suhana Meharchand: We're talking about the loonie today and with a low closing price on Friday, perhaps we've lost some of our loonie swagger, how is that affecting you?

Eric D'Entremont: Really well. We sell a lot of our fish products to the U.S, so the dollar at that price is really good for us.

SM: So you're a fisherman. What do you catch mostly?

ED: Haddock, codfish, and pollock. Stuff like that. Ground fish they call it.

SM: The Americans who are buying up our fish, are they doing it in droves now because their buck goes so much further?

ED: Yes, they can afford to pay better prices. It's really good. Just the exchange is incredible.

SM: Is it affecting the Canadian buyer?

ED: Yeah, they're making more money. Everybody is making more money. Even the people that build the boats are booked up for the next two years. You can't even get a boat order in anymore. The builders are busy-busy. They have a shortage of workers.

SM: Is that changing the mood in Nova Scotia, in Yarmouth County in particular, where there is so much emphasis on fishing, on boats, and on building boats. Are you noticing a change in your community?

ED: Oh yes, a few years ago it was the opposite. Some of the boats were running behind and there was an outward migration where our young people were going out west. A lot of them headed out west and we ended up with a shortage of workers, and now it's a total reversal. They're coming back and a lot of them are getting their old jobs back. They're getting their jobs in the fishery.

SM: Are young people coming back?

ED: Oh yes, a lot of them have come back because they were laid off and they're back. Their jobs were waiting for them because there was a shortage, so they were employed right away. Most of them have jobs and they're doing very well. So it's a win-win situation here.

SM: It used to be that expression "Go West, young man and you'll find a job," but I guess now it's go east. Do you think about Alberta and those who have lost their jobs in the oil patch?

ED: Yes, we have a lot of friends out there and some of them have bought houses just two or three years ago and now are laid off, so we don't know what's going to happen to them.

SM: How's your family? Do you have kids who have gone out west or who are working in the fishing industry with you?

ED: No, I have two kids and they stayed here. They were thinking about [going west], but they hung around and it [the fishing industry] turned around so everything is working out all right now. We never expected it to turn around that quickly. It was a shock to everybody.

SM: I'm glad you are feeling some of the benefits to this low loonie, Eric. There are so many other stories across the country of the negative kind it's nice to hear a positive. Thank you for your time.

Eric D'Entremont's and Suhana Meharchand's comments have been edited and condensed.

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