Ice age

Sherry Martell
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Jam causes concern for fishermen who call Malagash wharf home

MALAGASH - Malagash fishermen are concerned about damage that may lie beneath an ice jam piled up on their boat launch after it washed over the wharf.

Ice age

MALAGASH - Malagash fishermen are concerned about damage that may lie beneath an ice jam piled up on their boat launch after it washed over the wharf.

Piles of thick ice have washed ashore twice this winter, gouging wooden timbers supporting the wharf and depositing silt and gravel into the harbour.

Ive never seen it like this before, said Clarence Duggan, president of the Malagash Harbour Authority. If it had come up any higher it would have hit the oil tank and pushed it over.

The pile of ice blocks nearly reached a large tank near the pier, used by fishermen to dispose of used oil.

A fishing boat parked on a trailer for winter storage near the wharf was not as lucky. During the past week ice piled about 15 feet high behind it and pushed the boat forward more than 25 feet smashing on its wooden frame.

Armour rock was once placed on the southeast corner of the L-shaped wharf to protect against ice jamming but has slowly tumbled away leaving wooden support timbers vulnerable to the elements.

For years during the winter, water and ice has been coming over the top and wearing it down, said Barry Durrant, authority treasurer.

Ice floes blown ashore by strong winds have also damaged the end of the wharf.

From what we can see there has been some structural damage to the timber but we cant tell how much damage until the ice is gone and we can get out there and get a good look at it, said Durrant.

The fishermen have been lobbying government officials for the past five years for funding to place a breakwater near the wharf to prevent the ice from coming ashore.

Duggan said it would cost about $500,000, but it is also costly to dredge the harbour every couple of years, costing about $65,000 each time, a necessity because of the silt churned up from the ice washing into harbour.

Fishermen are hoping by mid-April the ice will have melted enough to clear the boat launch as vessels are returned for the spring lobster season opening April 30.

Organizations: Malagash Harbour Authority

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