Yarmouth herring seiner grounded off Isle Haute

Andrew Wagstaff awagstaff@citizenrecord.ca
Published on July 21, 2014


A quiet island in the Bay of Fundy saw much more activity than usual July 20, as a large fishing vessel became grounded near its shores.

The Lady Melissa, a 368-tonne herring seiner from Yarmouth, was one of several vessels on a mission to explore the abundant herring supply near Advocate, but became beached on a gravel bar off Isle Haute shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday. 

A tour group traveling by zodiac was there to witness the event.

“A long treacherous gravel bar runs more than 100 metres from Isle Haute towards Advocate and, as the tide goes down, the risk of stranding increases,” explained Else Marie Ostermann of Advocate Boat Tours, who was among those on the scene. “Lady Melissa had cut its run around the island too short and got stranded on the gravel bar.”

The boat, which included a crew of about eight men, was stranded for several hours, and would have been able to leave the island at about 5 p.m., according to Ostermann.

The tour group had encountered the fishing vessel earlier that morning, and exchanged friendly greetings with the crew. The group in the zodiac than circled around the 2.5 km island to view its frolicking seals and soaring seabirds. On its way back to the mainland at Cape Chignecto, it saw that the herring boat was in trouble.

“When Advocate Boat Tours came along, the crew was already abandoning the listing ship and climbing into a smaller vessel,” said Ostermann. “They were lucky it was an incredibly calm day on the Fundy; now they just had to wait for the tide to come back up to get back to work.”