Fishers' Memorial Service 2020 - September 13, 2020

Fishers Memorial Service 1 Title

On Sunday, September 13th the Town of Lunenburg held the annual Fisher's Memorial Service. A video of the event is available here:

Mayor Rachel Bailey's opening remarks:

As Mayor of the Town of Lunenburg, it is my honour to welcome you all to the Annual Fishers’ Memorial Service. As we begin I want to acknowledge that here in Lunenburg we are in Mi’kma‘ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people.

And here in Lunenburg, we conduct this service each year to honour those who hailed from Lunenburg County ports and whose lives were lost pursuing their livelihood by fishing.

We give thanks that in the year passed, we experienced no new losses.

We also give thanks for the prosperity the fishing industry has provided in the past and continues to provide for families throughout Lunenburg County.

In this spirit of thanksgiving we reflect on the year of 2020. This year our world, both literally and figuratively, has been overtaken by COVID-19.  Dealing with a pandemic has impacted everyone in many ways and to varying degrees.  It has changed the way we function in our everyday lives and also has taken the lives of loved ones all over the world.  It has also forced us to look at our lives and our way of life with new perspective.

With public health restrictions currently in place, we are not able to gather together as has been our tradition, to provide support by being physically present for one another. But we have found ways and will continue to find ways to support each other, ways to continue to build community and ways to preserve what is important to us. The Lunenburg Fishers’ Memorial Service for 2020 is shared with you virtually this year but it is offered with the same degree of respect for the strength and courage of those fishers lost and the same solidarity of spirit for the families, friends and fellow fishers and entire communities left to grieve. 

This year, 2020 is also the 40th Anniversary of a tragedy that impacted this community deeply.  During the summer of 1980, we experienced the loss of the "Margaret Jane" and the lives of four of her crew. As a Lunenburg teenager at the time, as a friend of crew members aboard that vessel, and as a mariner’s daughter, this incident had a profound effect on me personally. It was my coming of age as a Lunenburger, a citizen of a fishing community who began to appreciate the legacy of the fishing industry in this Town and the toll it takes with the bounty it offers. 

Today we are reminded of the lives sacrificed in the pursuit of earning a living from the sea.

Thanks to the following people who participated in the service (in order of appearance):

Pre-recorded Portion

  • Mayor Rachel Bailey, Town of Lunenburg
  • The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans & the Canadian Coast Guard
  • David Mitchell, former "Margaret Jane" Crew Member
  • Hilda Russell, Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic
  • FoxFIRE: Coco Harris, Mary Knickle, Miranda Lever
  • Pastor Rick Pryce, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Bluenose footage courtesy of Nova Scotia Tourism

Wreath Ceremony at the Fishermen's Memorial Monument

  • Mayor Rachel Bailey, Town of Lunenburg
  • Captain Chris Cyr, former "Margaret Jane" Crew Member
  • Lunenburg & District Fire Department Colour Party

Blessing of the Fleet

  • Pastor Rick Pryce, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Joe Amero, St. Norbert's Roman Catholic Church
  • Rev. John Wright, St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Blue Rocks
  • Captain Jeff Wagner, Coordinator of Fleet Sail-Past
  • Lunenburg Fishing Fleet x 20 boats and crew participating in Fleet Sail-Past
  • Conductor Wendell Eisner and the Bridgewater Fire Department Band

Guest Dignitaries

  • The Honourable Wilfred P. Moore, Senator (retired)
  • Suzanne Lohnes-Croft, MLA Lunenburg
  • Mayor David Devenne, Town of Mahone Bay
  • Councillor Matt Risser, Town of Lunenburg

Thank you for joining us. Sail safe.