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Nova Scotia fishermen on the hook for gear destroyed by historic wildfires

HALIFAX — A volunteer firefighter who battled one of Nova Scotia’s biggest wildfires must now shell out thousands of dollars to replace the fishing gear he lost to the flames.

Kevin Doane says the fire that burned more than 200 square kilometres southwest Nova Scotia in late May and June destroyed about $61,000 worth of his lobster fishing gear — and he’s not alone.

Doane is one of 17 fishermen who lost a combined total of about $1 million in fishing gear when the historic blaze ripped through Shelburne County.

He says fishing gear is often not insured because it’s stored outside, as few fishers have access to buildings large enough to fit all of their lobster traps, ropes and buoys.

Recently, the Nova Scotia government announced fishermen are eligible for a $2,500 grant to replace gear, but Dan Fleck, executive director of a local lobster association, says the support is inadequate.

Opposition Leader Zach Churchill has called for the province to cover the full $1 million in lost gear.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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