George Mombourquette holds up a nine-pound lobster with Olivia Campbell during the Seaside Lobsterfest lobster fishing tours. Three traps were planted with purchased lobster to simulate the experience for tourists.

ST. PETER’S: It may be a common way of life for local people but three days of lobster fishing tours was a huge hit recently among tourists in St. Peter’s.

Scott Touesnard and George Mombourquette volunteered to become fisherman-turned-tour guides last week during the community’s Seaside Lobsterfest. The uptake for the free tours struck a chord with both tourists and locals with about 250 people jumping onboard.

Photo by Dawn Ostrem
Visitors get aboard the Amelia Marie for a lobster fishing tour during the Seaside Lobsterfest last week in St. Peter’s.

“I think my wife gets tired and doesn’t want to listen to all my stories so at least there’s some people interested,” Touesnard quipped.

He said they hosted tourists from as far away as China, Sweden and Germany, as well as North Americans from Toronto and U.S.

“Most important is the kids,” he said. “They get to have fun. They really get a lot out of it.”

The Seaside Lobsterfest, which ran from July 9-16 in St. Peter’s, included a long roster of events celebrating the lobster fishing way of life in Richmond County. Other events included tours of the Lobsters R Us facility, food experiences, entertainment and local arts and crafts.

Photo by Dawn Ostrem
Scott Touesnard looks on as George Mombourquette explains how to tell a male from a female lobster to Lena Aho, a visitor from Sweden.

The event has been running for only two years, but this is the first time tourists were able to board the Amelia Marie at the St. Peter’s Canal and venture out into St. Peter’s Bay.

Touesnard and Mombourquette hauled up simulated traps and let tourists study the lobster while they described sizing regulations and other duties of the trade. The third and final trap, set up with purchased lobsters, included a mammoth nine-pounder which was approximately 50 years old.

“I think this kind of experience is a little more personal for people,” said Touesnard, describing the showy displays of downtown Halifax bars and shops when it comes to presenting the fishing industry to visitors.

“Only a few people can say they’ve done this.”

Touesnard and Mombourquette were two of many volunteers who helped run the events at the Seaside Lobsterfest, which was one of 17 selected festivals to be featured in Destination Cape Breton’s new marketing campaign, “17 in ‘17.”

Photo by Dawn Ostrem
Scott Touesnard looks on as George Mombourquette hauls up a simulated catch.