The Culture of Fishermen

Middle-aged man with glasses and silver beard wearing a grey polo shirt and jeans, holding paper with other hand in pocket, standing on stage with table covered by a red tablecloth and a tv monitor showing an ocean image.
River’s End Fisher Poets founder Wilfred Wilson presents his thoughts on life on the water

We welcome Jordan Fenske White as our practicum student from Kwantlen Polytechnic University this year. Here are his reflections from the recent River’s End Fisher Poets gathering held at the Cannery for BC Culture Days this past weekend.

The Fisher Poets event held on Saturday October 2nd, 2021, saw several fishermen present their poems in person or virtually. 

I was surprised to see just how layered and emotional these poems could be. The fishermen who presented, though all different, shared poems that were common in theme and substance. I was intrigued to learn that there exists a deeply rooted and complex ‘culture’ that exists within the fishermen and their industry. The existence of that culture was proven through the poems presented. These poems displayed the humour, beliefs, struggles, and triumphs that are experienced by those who devote their life to the catch. Another reoccurring theme within all these works was the power of the ocean, and the vast respect held by all fishermen and the love they feel for it. 

However, fishing was not as it used to be; the independent, free fishermen is mostly a thing of the past and that was touched on at this event. Despite this, the fishermen culture remains strong and will continue to live through the generations because of poems like the ones presented. 

Thank you to all who participated in this year’s hybrid in-person and virtual gathering:

Wilfred Wilson

Steve Ordano

Tony Deasey (from Lasqueti Island)

Craig McFeely (from Lasqueti Island)

Kathy Schultz (from Lasqueti Island)

Crowd of people sitting in white folding chairs watching man on stage inside historic cannery building.
River’s Edge Fisher Poets gathering on October 2, 2021