Brandon Bennett lives in St. Paul’s, a small fishing town on the northern peninsula of Newfoundland. At 24 years old, he is a hard-working fish harvester, enjoying his first year as an enterprise owner in the fishery.
“I grew up with my father being a fisherman,” Brandon says. “Everyone around me was into fishing, so I guess it is just in my blood to be a fisherman. It’s where I love to be.”
With two twin baby boys who just turned 1 year old in May, Brandon admits it has not always been easy. But, he is home.
“I graduated from high school and then went away to work on a fly in-fly out job in Labrador for 5 years. There was not a day that passed by while I was gone that I didn’t think about how the boys back home were doing with fishing.”
After five years, Brandon made the decision to come back home and follow his passion for fishing.
“After five years, I realized I’d had enough. The work I was doing wasn’t really for me. I decided I wanted to go fishing and, after growing up aboard a fishing boat since I was old enough to walk, that is where I wanted to be. I headed back to school for the winter, got my fishing masters, and it all began from there.”
After finishing his fishing masters, Brandon began his road toward being an enterprise owner.
“A buddy of mine was looking for crew in Cow Head, not far from my home town. I went fishing with him for the year. Fishing went well so I decided I needed to find a way to get my own license and enterprise. I’m young, and I knew that with hard work I could do it and pay for it in my early years.”
Brandon sees a future in the fishery for young harvesters.
“Looking back ten years ago when my father was hard into fishing, lobster was very scarce and there wasn’t very much out there for young folks to be at. Halibut stocks were down, but now we’re seeing a really big amount of both halibut and lobster since then. In the offseason, when you wake up every morning knowing that next spring I’m going back aboard the fishing boat – that’s a really good feeling.”
Brandon also has some words of advice and encouragement for young harvesters who are considering fishing as a career, or who may be new to the industry:
“Any of you young fishermen out there, the same as myself, remember – if it’s what you want to do, then do it. I think there’s a bright future out there for us as there are not half as many fishermen as there once were. If you believe in what you want to do, then just work hard at it and it will happen.”