For as long as Chelsey Gaudet can remember, she wanted to be a fisherwoman. “Back in kindergarten when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said I wanted to go fishing with my parents,” says Chelsey.
Chelsey and her brother Chad often joined their parents Glen & Angela Adams from Alberton in the boat during fishing season. Due to the early morning hours, their parents found it difficult to find a sitter, so they would often head out to work with their children aboard.
“When I graduated high school, the fishing industry was mostly made up of men who owned and operated their own vessel and fishing gear. I wanted to make sure I tried other options to see what I really liked as a career. I tried hairdressing, but that was not for me. Then I went to work at a daycare because I love being around children, but something was missing.
“I wanted to be on the ocean, fishing,” says Chelsey, with a huge smile. “That is where I belong and I love it. My dad supported me, and at 19 years old I started fishing with him out of Howard’s Cove in the fall lobster season. The following year I fished both the spring and fall seasons, and I bought my own gear in 2013.”
Today Chelsey is the proud owner and captain of her own fishing vessel. She fishes mainly lobster and halibut.
“I love everything about fishing. I love being out in the boat, I love the ocean, and I love to see what weird creatures I might catch in my traps. I see and learn new things every day.
“If I am having a bad day, once I get out on the water I feel so much better. The beauty can take your breath away. Fishing relaxes me, although there are rough days and you can take a good beating when the wind rolls up some nasty waves. But I wouldn’t do it any other way, and the good days outweigh the bad.”
Chelsey says being self-employed is a great option on PEI, and she encourages other women who have interest in fishing to go after their dreams.
“More and more women are in the industry today,” she says. “Many women also fish with their husbands.”
She is very passionate about the industry, and participates in many fishing-related meetings and sessions throughout the year. She also took the radio communications course, MED A1 and marine first aid, which are offered through the Holland College Marine Centre in Summerside.
Chelsey and her husband have one daughter, Gemma. Chelsey plans to encourage her to fish if that is what she wants to do when she grows up. “I hope my daughter loves the industry, but I will encourage her to go after any career she would like. We are saving money so that one day she can attend college or buy her own fishing gear.”