Commercial Fishing

The Wagmatcook Commercial Fishery has been in operation since 1990. Since its commencement the bands fishery has significantly expanded in terms of licenses, assets, and employees.

Primarily it harvests groundfish, palegics, shellfish and is a producer/wholesaler of shell ice products.

The Wagmatcook Commercial Fishery vessels include: 6 cape island style lobster vessels ranging in size from 38′-40′, and one 55’mobile groundfish vessel. In 2004 the Band built a wharf on the Brad’dor lakes that spans over 200′ in length.

Adjacent to the Wharf are two large buildings one being a three bay storage facility (3000 sq ft) and the other being a Elders Centre (4000 sq ft). The Wagmatcook Band and Novas Finest Seafood equally own 50% shares of a new ice processing facility. The Ice facility has a capacity to produce an estimated 4000mt of shell ice per year in Pubnico, Nova Scotia.

Commercial Fisheries Structure

The Wagmatcook Commercial Fishery employ’s thirty five commercial fishers and one shore based manager. Financial support is provided through the Wagmatcook Band’s financial department that comprises of one certified accountant and three financial clerks.

Mr. Preston Bernard has been the Commercial Fishery Manager for the Wagmatcook Commercial fishery for the last ten years. During that time Mr. Bernard has been able to restructure the business operation to make it more profitable while increasing employment by thirty percent. With over fourteen years of experience in the commercial industry Mr. Bernard has a wealth of knowledge pertaining to the complexities of the commercial fishery. This ranges in the areas from human resource management, harvesting strategies and technologies, resource feasibility assessments, vessel management protocols, financial planning, inventory analysis, species marketing, and business expansions.

The Wagmatcook Commercial Fishery is structured to operate as a business utilizing business concepts to generate the highest projected returns to the community of Wagmatcook. This non-political governance structure ensures long term sustainability. Strong leadership and strict financial controls are followed to promote fairness and accountability. Licenses

Our diversified licenses and quotas minimize market risk factors associated with reliance on a single product line. We have a proven product line of shellfish, pelagic, and fin fish. These species are highly demanded in the seafood markets and form the primary species of Nova Scotia’s commercial fishery. Our company is fully integrated and has the capabilities of procuring and harvesting other species product lines allowing for total diversification.

Susan Bernard
Lower West Pubnico, NS
Susan Bernard Lower West Pubnico, NS
Louisbourg, NS
Wagmatcookewey Louisbourg, NS
Wagmatcookewey II
Margaree, NS
Wagmatcookewey II Margaree, NS
Alder Point, NS
Kitpu Alder Point, NS
Alder Point, NS
Jake’j Alder Point, NS
Indian Bay
Main a Dieu, NS
Indian Bay Main a Dieu, NS
Eagle Lake
Louisbourg, NS
Eagle Lake Louisbourg, NS

The Bands assets whether communal or commercial are operated at the band level; ensuring all Wagmatcook members benefit from the commercial fishery. Prior to the Marshall Agreement the bands fishery consisted predominately of inshore fishing licenses and vessels. The business structure quickly expanded commencing with the Marshall Agreement to include mid-shore license allocations.

Fishing Vessels

We utilize a total of eleven fishing vessels ranging in length from thirty eight to sixty five to efficiently harvest our resources. We take pride in our fleet of vessels and maintain them to the highest standards with routine monthly mechanical, and superstructure inspections.


Our commercial fishery operations employ several highly skilled captains and crewmembers. All our technical staff is provided with free training programs designed to enhance skill sets, and increase safety awareness.


Decision making is well orchestrated with senior management. Business projections, harvesting plans, risk assessments, training plans, human resource plan, and market performance indicators are utilized to manage and maintain control of business operations. Chief and Council are well informed of negative and positive factors within our business and how the manager intends to reduce negative factors and take advantage of positive outcomes.

Technical Personnel are provided a well planned course of action and outcomes for each decision (harvesting plan). Hierarchy aboard each of our vessels is strictly followed; with the chain of command being Captains, Mates/Deckboss, and Deckhands (each personnel is expected to perform a predetermined set of roles).

Employment pre-requite (Deckhand)

The commercial fishery is one of the most dangerous employment sectors. The most effective approach to reducing r injury is safety training. Any individual interested in working in the bands fishery must:

  1. Complete the Marine Emergency duties level A1 B2 safety course
  2. Possess a valid First Aid/CPR course
  3. Willing to work as a team
  4. Highly adaptable
  5. Able to work in a highly stressful environment



The primary role of Captains is to support the mandate of the Wagmatcook Commercial fishery whereby product is harvested in the most feasible manner while ensuring crew safety and all legal regulations are adhered.

Responsibilities: Captains employed to harvest Wagmatcook fishing licenses shall complete the following responsibilities:

  1. Respect and follow all legal conditions associated with harvesting each identified species under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans license conditions.
  2. Respect and follow legal conditions under the Canada Shipping Act that apply to the category of fishing taken place.
  3. Harvest product in a safe and sustainable fashion
  4. Manage and operate harvesting vessel(s) and gear in accordance to government standards and laws.
  5. Ensure all equipment and gear is maintained and in working order.
  6. Manage crew members according to the stipulated Employment Policy.

Employment pre-requite (Captain)

  1. Complete the Marine Emergency duties level A1 B2 safety course
  2. Possess a valid First Aid/CPR course
  3. Willing to work as a team
  4. Highly adaptable
  5. Able to work in a highly stressful environment
  6. Proven ability to manage crew, and vessel. Ability to comprehend and adhere to species license and condition issued by the Department of fisheries and oceans
  7. Posses a valid Fishing Master Class IV certification or higher.
  8. Proven ability to land harvested species.


The primary role of Deckhands is to ensure that the vessel gear is handled and maintained according to the designated fishery.


  1. Adhere to orders directed by the designated captain.
  2. Promote and maintain a safe working environment aboard vessel
  3. Ensure seafood is handled according to provisions outlined in the department