Lobster trap Christmas trees are once again decked out for the season on Cape Sable Island and Port Mouton on Nova Scotia’s South Shore.
This is the third year for the tree at the Port Mouton wharf. The project was initiated by community volunteer Krystie Gatzke and her mother-in-law Janet Gatzke.
The tree is decorated with donated lights and buoys. “We allow every person to put a buoy in memory of someone lost at sea or in memory of a fisherman who is no longer here or even their family name on the buoy,” said Krystie Gatzke in an interview.
The tree lighting ceremony was held prior to the season opening in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 33 slated for Nov. 30. “The first year was the best turnout we had,” said Gatzke. “It was new, the older people were quite amazed. Last year it was cold and rainy at the lighting so this year we are looking closer to the weather to plan.”
In the Municipality of Barrington, the Lobster Capital of Canada, this year marks the 11th year for the lobster trap Christmas tree, which stands on the North East Point shoreline on Cape Sable Island.
“This will be the seventh year for having buoys placed on the lobster trap tree specifically to honour fishermen and their crew,” said Suzy Atwood, Director of Marketing and Tourism Development for the Municipality.
More than 130 buoys are placed by family and friends of lobster fishermen and women in memory of those lost at sea, those who have since passed on, as well as those who were, and still today are fishing the waters along our rugged coastline of Nova Scotia, said Atwood.
The tree lightning “is a moving, emotional experience, as it tells the story of our rich fishing history and heritage and most importantly, our people,” said Atwood.
The tree has taken on a few changes over the years. “Nearly 200 recycled traps/pots make up our tree, all which have served their duty catching thousands of lobsters on the bottom of our ocean floor,” said Atwood.
“The lobster trap tree, as all Christmas trees do, brings families, friends and in this case, our wonderful community together to celebrate the Christmas and lobster season and remember loved ones,” said Atwood. “It’s a reminder of the importance the lobster industry plays to our communities, residents, businesses, not only here in the Municipality of Barrington but to the entire province of Nova Scotia.”
Both trees will stay decorated and lit until after the New Year.