East Petpeswick Native Becomes Captain at Age 20
There are very few 20-year-olds who know exactly what they want to do with their lives, but for Bradley Roma, there was never any question.
“I’ve been fishing since I could walk,” he said. “I finished high school early and went right to fishing with my old man, full time.”
The aforementioned “old man” is Chris Roma of East Petpeswick, captaining in Bradley’s lifetime the Rockin’ Robin and now the Atlantic Explorer. Chris thought his son might want to try for university, to find a life and living on good old terra firma, but alas, those raised on the ocean develop a curious aversion to just about anything else. His son was resolute.
“I love being out on the water and I love everything about the excitement,” said Bradley. “It’s always what I really wanted to do.”
But while youth comes with its virtues, it lacks entirely in patience for paperwork. The complexities of entering the industry on his own, and of securing a loan for the purchase of boat and license, were beyond Bradley. It took the support of his parents, and critically of the Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, to find and sign the dotted line.
“I’ve always heard it’s bad luck to change the name,” said Bradley of his first command, the 40 foot Bobby Lee II. He’s also heard it’s only bad luck to change the name while you’re still making payments. The laws of the high sea are strange to be sure, but Bradley has elected not to test them. Bobby Lee II will do just fine, an older craft, to be sure, but it’s his.
This coming spring will be Bradley’s first season under his own power, and for this opportunity he’s extremely grateful to the Fisheries Loan Board, rescuing him from the necessity of a bank loan, and the lack of flexibility that often entails.
“I didn’t want to go through a bank,” he said. “I wanted to go somewhere they support fishermen.”