Felix and Valentine Stoute: Fishing has been our heartbeat
The scenic, southeastern community of San Sauveur is home to scores of individuals who make a living from the sea.
Felix and Valentine Stoute are one such couple who have a long-term love affair with the ocean and what it offers them, their family, and the wider community.
Hardworking and dedicated 65-year-old Felix was born and raised in San Sauveur. From his earliest memories, fishing is what he did.
"My father was a fisherman," he told The Sun. "As a young boy, I spent all my spare time fishing with my father."
He started off rock fishing, moved on to nets and pots, then on weekends it was out to the open sea with sails and oars.
Valentine, on the other hand, was born in Petite Soufriere and says it was love at first sight when she met Felix.
"I remember the first day we met he brought me a photo that his brother took of me and insisted I ask him to keep it because I was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen," she said.
The two began their beautiful love story in November 1977, got married in 1981, and raised six children to be God-fearing members of society.
"Our home was always full of laughter and music," he said.
Felix recalled, himself passionate about music and being a gifted guitarist. After a hard day's work "I would sit with my guitar and sing with my wife and kids for hours."
The children describe their dad as being very good at Math as he was the go-to person for Math homework.
Felix was also a farmer, but his love for fishing pushed him to develop his talents.
"With the help of the Fisheries Division, Mr. Magloire, and Mr. Norris I got opportunities to certify my skills," he said.
This veteran fisherman gained a wealth of knowledge in pots and nets, fixing engines, and fisheries technology. Though he retired in 2019 he still helps to train the young fisherfolk.
Valentine, being the kind and generous person she is, made sure to get involved in the tight-knit fishing village becoming its data collection officer in 1988.
"There I was responsible for collecting statistical fishing data for the Fisheries Division," she said.
She also developed her interpersonal and communication skills while on the job.
Felix's contribution to the fishing industry is well documented as he was recognized by the Ministry of Blue and Green Economy in 2020 and the Nova Scotia Fisheries Department in 1989 and 1990.
He admits the life of a fisherman and farmer is not always smooth sailing. Among the challenges he encountered were motor problems out at sea, terrible weather conditions, and instances where individuals would take produce and not pay.
61-year-old Valentine agrees that bad weather is something which is worrying to the entire community
"There were nights that the villagers stayed up waiting for the fishermen to arrive," she said.
-By Andrea Louis