Max Pollard was born in 1930 in Harbour Deep, a fishing and logging community on Newfoundland’s northern peninsula. One of eight children, Max began fishing with his father when he was 10 years old.
“My father had a motor boat that we’d use for fishing, about 23′ long,” says Max. “We were using hand and line then – baited hooks,” he adds. Max left school at the age of 12 to work with his father, fishing in the summer and logging in the winter. “It was year-round,” he says, “I didn’t stop.”
Boats were built in the spring of the year in Harbour Deep, “every fisherman would build their own” – sometimes with a helping hand – “because no one could afford to buy one anyway.”
Being a fisherman meant being a boat builder. “Every boat I fished in I built myself, from the small ones up to the 40 foot longliner,” Max says.
Max learned from his father, watching and helping him build from the time he was a young boy. At 20 years old, Max built his own 23′ motor boat and fitted her with a 4 hp Acadia engine. Since then, he estimates he’s built 30 boats including punts, motor boats, speed boats, and a longliner.
Max continued to fish in the same waters as his father and grandfather until 1992 when the moratorium on the cod fishery was declared by the Canadian Government. Max was among thousands of people forced to haul up their boats and give up their lives as fishermen. For Harbour Deep, a remote fishing community on Newfoundland’s northern peninsula, the loss of the fisheries was devastating. “There were about 400 people there one time,” Max says, “…by the time I left, there were about 40.”
In 2002, Max and his wife Edith closed the grocery store they operated in the community and moved to Pasadena. Later the same year, Harbour Deep was officially resettled and residents dispersed to other communities on the northern peninsula from St. Anthony to Deer Lake.