Quebec Standard

Thursday, November 30, 2023

‘No smoke in the smokehouse’ on the Magdalen Islands after restricting herring fisheries


Key takeaways: 

  • The Fumoir d’antan is shuttering the standard herring smokehouse for the first time in 80 years.
  • The Fumoir d’antan on the island of Havre aux Maisons, an area of the Magdalen Islands, has been smoking herring since 1942. 

The smell of smoked herring is a typical scent along the coasts of the island of Havre aux Maisons, an area of the Magdalen Islands, where the Fumoir d’antan has been smoking the fish since 1942. Still, the tradition won’t be able to persist this summer. 

It’s the first time the firm’s flagship smokehouse will be out of function since the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) declared that it would be stopping springtime herring and mackerel fisheries along the coastal waters of Quebec and Atlantic regions till at least 2023. 

“There will be no steam in the smokehouse this year,” co-owner Benoit Arseneau stated in an interview with Radio-Canada. 

Also read: Quebec City’s historic Saint-Jean-Baptiste church still meets insecure future

The tradition won’t be able to persist this summer

The ministry has said urgent measures had to be taken to provide diminishing stocks can rebound.

The industrial smokehouse in Pointe-Basse that smoked the herring using conventional methods is the last standing in the Magdalen Islands, which Arseneau states was once home to 40 others at the rise of the trade in the 1950s.

“People were concerned we might be shutting. We aren’t shutting, but we will have a good out of stock for a few years,” Arseneau stated. 

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