Mackerel are piling up on the shores of Embree, and locals say it’s the most they’ve seen in some years.
Wanda Gosse moved back home to Embree five years ago. According to Gosse, 39, the mackerel are not only more plentiful this year, they are showing up in areas that people rarely see them.
“Coming home these past four nights people are just maggoty on the beaches, they’re out with their flashlights and just grabbing them,” said Gosse. “I’ve never seen them roll into the spots they’re coming in.”
From speaking with many locals, Gosse says people have been caught off guard by the amount of mackerel rolling ashore.
Ritchie Scott, from the neighbouring community of Little Burnt Bay, went out this past weekend to gather some mackerel for home meals. He filled two five-gallon buckets full of the fish on Saturday, Dec. 1, and three buckets the following day.
“They come in every fall but not as many as have come in this year,” Scott said. “I grew up here eating fish and (mackerel) was always something we had in the fall, but I’ve never seen this many.
“They’re rolling in the whole way through Embree, all along the beach everywhere.”
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Andrew Smith is the stock assessment biologist for Atlantic mackerel with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, based in Mont-Joli, Quebec. In an emailed response, Smith says that because of the fish’s sensitivity to the cold they often get pushed inshore and onto beaches when they are faced with a sudden wall of cold water.
According to Smith, mackerel is rarely seen in waters colder than 7 degrees Celsius, and many will die outright when caught in cold waters.
DFO supervising officer for the Twillingate detachment Dwayne Holwell says he has heard of a lot more sightings of mackerel around beaches this year, from areas like Embree, Brown’s Arm and Summerford.
“It hasn’t been as commonly seen the past few years, but this year I’ve been hearing about it a lot from other people,” he said.