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Lockeport Sea Derby “a family thing”

Children pose with their fishing rods and prizes for a group photo at last year's Lockeport Sea Derby. This year's derby will run from Aug.  9 to 11.
Children pose with their fishing rods and prizes for a group photo at last year's Lockeport Sea Derby. This year's derby will run from Aug. 9 to 11. - Contributed
LOCKEPORT, N.S. —

“Anywhere you can get a hook in the water” is where they will be fishing for mackerel, groundfish and blue shark at the 28th annual Lockeport Sea Derby on Aug. 9 to 11.
The longest one running fishing derby in Nova Scotia, it’s “a big family event,” said organizing committee president George Benham. 
“The last two or three years we’ve been averaging around 260 people so we have a pretty good turnout," he said.
Registration starts at noon on Aug. 9 at the Lockeport Fire Department and goes until 7 p.m. Some of the bigger boats that fish for shark go out Friday evening, but everybody has to be back to the wharf by 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, said Benham.
“A lot of the boats go out Saturday morning,” Benham. “It all depends on what you’re going for. Most go mackerel and cod (groundfish) fishing.”
Benham said derby participants fish from the wharves in town, from outboard motor boats, and aboard larger fishing vessels. “Anywhere you can get a hook in the water,” he said.
Weigh-ins for mackerel and groundfish are held all day on Aug. 10 and 11 up until 5 p.m. The shark weigh-in starts at noon on Sunday.  
Scientists with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and from two university research teams will be on hand during the shark weigh-in to conduct sampling. DFO will also have an information booth about sharks, including great white sharks.
Benham said participants are permitted to land two blue sharks per boat that must be a minimum length of 9’.  Catch and release is also done. Sharks tagged during the derby have caught 1,500 miles away, said Benham, noting the scientific information gathered is a benefit to researchers.
Benham said the derby has received great sponsorship from the community resulting in some great prizes, including three grand prizes of $1,000, $2,000 and $3,000 cash.
There will be also be first and second place prizes awarded for youth, adults, the non-shark boats, the shark boats as well as random prizes. 
We had about 80 youth under 16 the last few years and we try to make sure every kid gets a prize,” said Benham.
Registration for the derby costs $30 for adult and $15 for children.

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