Offshore adventures

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by Allyson Heustis

Hi there! My name is Allyson and I was fortunate enough to spend the summer after my second year of university working for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on lobster boats as a lobster biometrics data collector. To get the job, I had to have experience on boats and know something about lobsters. I was nervous to apply, but had no other summer plans to date; there was nothing to lose. Sure enough, I got the position.

I knew lobster fishermen were early risers and boy was I right. My partner Sara and I would be up and on the go long before the sun, as all of our ports were at least an hour away from our home base, and the fishermen left the dock at 4am!

Sara and I were responsible for noting daily weather conditions, identifying the type of trap used by the fishermen, measuring the carapace (body), sexing the lobsters, identifying and classifying egg masses from females, and finding any claw deformities.

We were lucky enough to be taught how to band the lobster…

and only had a few incidences of “pinched fingers”.

We saw a variety of interesting critters… sculpins, eels, rock crabs and colourful seastars.

We learned about each port and saw many different landscapes from a perspective I will likely never have again.

Over the course of a month, my partner and I had traveled to new places and met amazing people, but the thing I will never forget are the sunrises that still manage to take my breath away years later.

Allyson Heustis Science, rugby, and fun


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