For Karrington Palmer, a lobster fisher out of French River, fishing runs deep in her blood. Her father, Bruce, has been fishing his entire life, and like Karrington, he fishes out of French River. Her older sister Kale Palmer has her own lobster fleet in Murray Harbour.
The 2022 season will be the first time Karrington will be running her own fleet, but that doesn’t make her the new kid on the block. Karrington has been on the water her entire life. She can still remember the first time she went out with her father on Setting Day as if it were yesterday. She was tasked with logging all of his numbers in his book. Being out on the water with her father is what Karrington loves the most about fishing. After fishing alongside her father last spring, she realized everything on the boat came naturally to her. She was dedicated to working as hard as she could to get the best results possible, and most importantly, she enjoyed being out on the water.
After seeing her dedication and love for lobster fishing, Karrington’s father, Bruce, believed she was ready to captain her own fleet. Karrington is looking forward to hitting the water and making him proud.
As a young female captain, Karrington will face new challenges in her inaugural year, but she is looking forward to tackling them head-on and accomplishing many things. She hopes that more females will continue to get involved in the lobster industry in PEI.
“Many people in this world will say what women can and can’t do, and it is empowering to prove them wrong. Lobster fishing is physically challenging, and on occasion, you have to work through rough conditions, which is why the industry has been male-dominated in the past. I strongly encourage women of any age to get involved in the industry, it may seem scary at first, but you soon learn that you are completely capable of completing any task that comes your way. It is truly such a unique and rewarding industry to be involved in.”
If you ask Karrington what qualities you need to be a successful lobster fisher, she would tell you dedication, resilience and respect. To wake up early each morning and head out on the water despite sometimes unfavourable conditions takes great dedication. You need to be resilient to recover from any setbacks. But more importantly, above all else, you need to respect the lobsters, the sea, and other fishers.
Like respect, sustainability is also very important to Karrington. PEI’s lobster fishery is certified sustainable through the Marine Stewardship Council. Fishers from across the island work together to manage the fishery responsibly. Karrington’s crew cautiously measures each lobster they catch and checks for spawn to ensure that she is doing her part. Her traps have escape hatches for undersized lobsters to escape, or if in the event a trap gets lost, biodegradable twine will degrade so the lobsters can escape.
Like many lobster lovers, Karrington’s favourite way to enjoy PEI lobster is in a roll, specifically a roll made by her mother at their family restaurant, JMK Fishmart.
Lobster fishing is a way of life for Karrington, and she is proud to be a PEI lobster fisher and provide her community and people around the world with the finest quality of lobster for them to enjoy.