World Fishing Exhibition in Marseilles

Of all the places I might ever have expected to see when I was a mid-level communications guy in Ottawa, the rough and ready Mediterranean port of Marseilles, France, was never likely to be it. Thus it was with utter astonishment and no little excitement that I found myself flying out there with a few other Canadian fisheries folks to attend a World Fishing Exhibition in May 1975. I had mostly to thank for this rare opportunity my new boss, Ken Lucas, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Fisheries and Marine Service, Environment Canada. I had started work as his Chief of Information Services in January, after completing a six month French training course, and managing participation in fisheries exhibits was part of my job.
Getting involved in international fisheries exhibitions was an important way of promoting measures Canada was taking to prepare for the extension of territorial limits over fishing activities on the continental shelf. Law of the Sea deliberations would usher in this new era of fisheries management with the establishment of a 200 mile limit in the following year. Fisheries and Marine undertook, in cooperation with the province of Nova Scotia, to host a World Fishing Exhibition in 1977 in Halifax, and needed to see how it was organized at the 1975 Exhibition taking place in Marseilles.
Ray Mills from the Nova Scotia government, Frank King from Federal Fisheries in Halifax and I joined forces to outline plans and answer questions about the 1977 event. Nova Scotia’s Minister of Fisheries and the Mayors of Halifax and Dartmouth also attended. Canada’s exhibit included three dimensional representations of the ocean floors around our coasts, illustrating the extent of our continental shelf.
One of the feature presentations at the exhibition was a selection of films on fisheries subjects, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of them was a film I had been closely involved with during its production. When I mentioned this, I was asked to speak about it and, with great trepidation, found myself doing so in French. While I had emerged from training at the top level in December, it was a nerve-wracking experience but I somehow managed to get through it without too much anguish. Perhaps it helped that I was still sporting a thick black beard which I had cultivated during the French course.
During the exhibition, I spent some enjoyable time with Fishing News International magazine editor Peter Hjul and his colleagues, a most interesting group. Peter had provided his readers with extensive coverage of the 1973 FAO Conference on Fishery Management and Development in Vancouver. He was accompanied in Marseilles by staff members who reported on fisheries activities at various world centres. One of them was impressively multi-lingual but spoke English in the unmistakable dialect of a London cockney. Another told me he was soon leaving to take on a new job doing fisheries training in the Seychelles, and he sent me a postcard from there later.

2 thoughts on “World Fishing Exhibition in Marseilles

  1. Marie wadden

    Sounds like the stars aligned in your favour – new boss, French lessons, the 200 mile limit implementation, and best of all, the beard. So glad you had this opportunity.

    1. Nix Post author

      Thanks. Doing a little nostalgia about past adventures. Like to do more sharing with groups on Facebook but don’t know many groups to do it with!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *