Peat moss industry
Peat moss extraction in New Brunswick was « born » on December 8th, 1941, when Conrad Fafard received from the governement the first lease on a peat bog where the peat moss was cut in blocks. This was located near Shippagan, on an area commonly known as the « Shippagan Plains ». On Lamèque Island, Émilien Langevin, from Québec and Joseph I. Chiasson of Lamèque, started the business in Savoy Landing.
In 1942 already, 268 metric tons of peat moss was exported to USA markets. At that time, peat blocks were cut by hand with special shovels and these blocks were stacked on the bogs for drying. Horses and tractors hauled the blocks to the plant for milling and bagging. Vacuums were introduced in 1964 and these had a major effect on the production.
Today, it is the second most important industry in the area. Eight peat bogs are exploited on Lamèque Island. Oldest bogs are slowly restored. Hundreds of people work hard on bogs and in plants as peat moss is sold on American and Asian markets. More than 13 millions bales are produced annually in New Brunswick, the most important province in Canada to export peat moss.
Peat is mostly used in gardening and agriculture as a soil amendment or as a component of growing mixes. Peat is also used for growing mushrooms and to manufacture containers for plants and tree seedlings.
The Shippagan Coastal Zones Research Institute Inc. (CZRI) services are of great help to the industry.
Lamèque Island is made up of 25 % of peat bogs, 46 % on Miscou Island. About a third of bogs are exploited on Lamèque Island while none are on Miscou, as locals want to protect the natural beauty of their land. If you’d like to visit a peat bog at its natural beauty, you can go to the Sentier Tourbière (nature trails) on Miscou Plains.
Copyright © Ville de Lamèque 2013