Usen Fisheries was a large fish processing factory in Souris which burned down on 22 September, 1993. During its peak operation the factory received between 250 000 and 300 000 pounds of red fish per boat per haul. It employed about 150 people (Moore) and was Souris' biggest employer (Willis).
The research team includes Roy Lambie, former manager of Usen Fisheries Ltd, who recalls when the ground fishing industry was booming in Souris.
"When we had two shifts going we had well over 300 people in the plant while the people in the draggers would be another 60 to 65 people. All of those people made good money."
The industry was also a huge economic generator for the Town of Souris. The processors hired not just locals, but also residents from Georgetown, Charlottetown and beyond.
"A lot of our crews came from Halifax and Newfoundland. Some would come in the spring and stay right until Christmas," Mr Lambie said.
Mr MacIntyre said a large trawler could haul between 300,000 to 350,000 pounds of ground fish per trip. He recalled times during the 1970s when it was so busy at the Souris processing plants he’d have to make arrangements to unload his catch in Glace Bay or North Sydney, Nova Scotia, as the Souris plants couldn’t handle the volume.
The ground fishery came to an end in the early 1990s, with factors including the cod moratorium as well as a fire which destroyed the Usen Fisheries plant.
The book project will get some help from the Institute of Island Studies. Manager Dr Irene Novaczek said the institute plans to support the project in any way it can, which would include helping Mr Gallant with funding applications to hire a researcher, and to use the facilities at UPEI such as the digital archives.
Ms Novaczek said as the manuscript takes shape, the institute will decide whether to publish it on its own or arrange to have it published by a larger, commercial publisher.
"It’s a very rich, rich subject," she said. "We think the history of the trawler fishery is an important part of Island history, and Mr Gallant is very well positioned with his background to tell that story."
Moore, Heather. "Souris has a history of survival." The Graphic. Web. Accessed 10 June 2013.
Willis, Nancy. The Sinking of the Nadine. http://bynancywillis.com/?page_id=115. Accessed 10 June 2013.