Shelburne ceremony being planned for June to honour fishermen

Published on February 1, 2017

The Fishermen’s Memorial on Shelburne’s waterfront.

©Tina Comeau

SHELBURNE, N.S.– In an area made up of small fishing communities, there are few people who have been untouched by the loss of a life to the sea.

Evidence of this is the memorial on Shelburne’s waterfront that displays the names of fishermen who have died.

The Town of Shelburne took over the role of maintaining the Fisherman’s Memorial for the past few years but help is needed from the community to make sure fishermen are properly honoured.

Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall has decided, as a citizen, to hold a ceremony she hopes will continue each year to honour the fishermen in Shelburne County who have died on the job.

“We have lost people to the sea everywhere in Shelburne County,” says Mattatall.

On June 11 at the Fisherman’s Memorial she is inviting communities from the county to join together to honour and remember these fishermen.

We have lost people to the sea everywhere in Shelburne County. Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall

There will be prayer, song and a list of names read aloud.  People are also invited to bring a flower to place in the water near the memorial in honour of a loved one lost.

Mattatall intends to ask for a group of people to take over organizing an annual memorial ceremony at the memorial in future years. While the town will continue to maintain the memorial, an annual ceremony will not be a council-led initiative.


“There is no event here specific to those lost at sea,” she says.

The idea was reinforced for Mattatall when fisherman Jim Buchanan lost his life earlier this month.

On the weekend that Buchanan lost his life, Mattatall said a resident shovelled snow from the memorial site and lowered the flags out of respect for Buchanan and his family.

The town decided at a council meeting to amend its flag policy so that when a fisherman loses his life at sea there would be someone to lower the flag.

Mattatall said they would need to rely on the community to make the town aware when a death occurs so that the flag can be lowered.

“We want to do the right thing and we want people to be remembered,” she says.