Fishing By The Numbers

April 1, 2019

St Peter’s Resident Goes From Office to Ocean

Kevin King is a man of numbers, a predisposition which led him first to St Mary’s University where he earned a degree in commerce, then to the Municipality of Richmond, Cape Breton Island, where he worked in accounts payable and, among other things, facilitated the sale of property and collected taxes. He was good at it, but throughout his studies and subsequent career, the ocean remained outside his window.

“I always wanted the fishing side of things,” he said, having explored the landlocked ships of relatives as a child and even gotten out a few times in lobster season with friends. By 1996 it was no longer enough to daydream.

That year he bought his first ship, a wooden 29 footer with gasoline engine and no name; he didn’t bother giving it one. It came with a lobster license which, at that time, was nothing to write home about, a relatively affordable privilege in a market which hadn’t yet exploded.

“It maybe wasn’t a smart move at the time because there wasn’t much money in lobster,” he said, “but it paid off.”

Kevin exchanged his nameless ship for the Miss Bethany I, built my the late, and renowned, Stanley Greenwood (“Chainsaw Stan”), his designs so unique they didn’t qualify for financing from several lending institutions, a fact which did nothing to dent his popularity. Seven years ago Kevin upgraded again to the brand new Miss Bethany II, built instead by David MacDonald whose ships are not only widely respected, but meet the standards of the Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board.

The Miss Bethany II, 38.6 feet of fibreglass propelled by a 300 horsepower engine, was purchased with the assistance of the Fisheries Loan Board. Recognizing the hot market for used ships, Kevin sold the Miss Bethany II in summer, 2019, for much more than he’d paid for it seven years previous, applying his commercial prudence. With these funds, and another loan from the Fisheries Loan Board, he commissioned a new ship last fall, the so-called Danny Buoy I, another 38.6 footer with a slightly larger engine and small live well built beneath its rear deck, also a product of David MacDonald.

“I have to say, the Fisheries Loan Board officers I dealt with were extremely helpful,” said Kevin. “Fishing is their thing. At the bank, you’re just a number. If you’re not able to make a payment, I think your chances of making it through hard times are better with the loan board than with the bank. There’s no question.”

The Danny Buoy I is finished, but has yet to be tested at sea in his home harbour of St Peter’s, a rite of passage scheduled for this April, just in time for the spring lobster season. Kevin still works in real estate part time because he enjoys it, and even undertook a scallop farm for a while, but when it comes to lobster fishing, the numbers have always added up.

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