Tag Archives: history

When Sailboats Ruled Bristol Bay

One hundred and thirty-two years ago, the Bristol Bay commercial fishery began on the shores of the Nushagak River when the first cannery went into operation and canned a little more than 4,000 salmon. Within four years, three more canneries appeared on the Nushagak, and within a decade canneries were built on the Naknek and Kvichak rivers. The dawn of the 20th century saw dozens of canneries around Bristol Bay catching, processing and canning millions of pounds of sockeye salmon every summer. By 1910, Bristol Bay accounted for 40 percent of Alaska’s commercially caught salmon. Even today, Bristol Bay makes up about 40 percent of Alaska’s salmon value. photo’s, >click to read< 11:50

New book tour: Where Have All The Shrimp Boats Gone? Captain Woody Collins visits Colleton Museum

“I ran five different shrimp boats during my career,” said Collins, speaking to those in attendance on Saturday. “My book tells the story of how the shrimping industry started, and offers my conclusions about how we got to present day.” The book published in 2020 and offers 300-photos over 300-pages as a visual reference to the past. “In 1980 the shrimping industry peaked in the Lowcountry and we had 1500-boats licensed to shrimp,” said Collins. “The decline in boats after that was drastic with 750-boats in 1985, 350-boats in 1990 and then down to 150-boats by 1995. That process took about a year and a half, and I’m probably the least likely guy to write a book,” he said. “I went to Sicily to do research on this book since an immigrant named Salvatore Solicito came here and brought the idea of netting from the back of a boat,” >click to read< 20:15

How the U.S. Fishing Fleet Served the Navy and Coast Guard in WWII

In the early days of World War II, demand skyrocketed for vessels to fill the needs of the U.S. sea services. The Coast Guard was no exception as they competed with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army for new construction as well as privately owned ships. Facing a high demand for vessels, the service turned to the U.S. fishing industry as a source for its cutters. These emergency acquisitions included East Coast trawlers, whalers from both coasts, and East Coast menhaden fishing vessels, such as the Emergency Manning vessel Dow (WYP 353). During World War I and World War II, the menhaden fishing fleet became a ready reserve for the Navy and Coast Guard. Both services needed small, shallow draft vessels for coastal convoy escort, mine planting, minesweeping, and anti-submarine net tending duty. Many of these vessels were purchased or leased, while others were loaned to naval forces by fishing businesses as their contribution to the war effort. >click to read< 18:28

Birth of the Eagle: How a Nazi training ship found its way to the Coast Guard Academy

The three-masted vessel that appeared in the harbor the morning of July 12, 1946, looked like something out of New London’s past, but it belonged to the future. Nearly 300 feet long with a graceful steel hull painted white, it was rigged as a barque: square sails on the foremast and mainmast, fore and aft sails on the mizzen mast. The ship docked at Fort Trumbull and was later inspected by 1,200 curious people. Seventy-five years ago this week, New London got a first look at what would become one of its enduring symbols: the Coast Guard barque Eagle. The arrival fit a pattern of events that defined 1946: the tying up of loose ends from World War II. photos, >click to read< 10:16

Retired Charlestown fisherman can’t afford to live in his fishing village sets record straight with new book

Retired Charlestown fisherman Lyndon Allen believes there has been so much rubbish written about his beloved village,,, A commercial fisherman for 36 years, the 56-year-old has been researching the history of Charlestown for the best part of four decades. Charlestown-Time and Tide (A History of Charlestown) is, as the title suggests, a history of the town from its humble beginnings as a fishing village known as Polmear to the holiday destination it has become today. Mr Allen said he has seen the town evolve since it was sold off to whoever could afford it in 1986 when it in 1986 when, as a privately owned single estate, it was broken up into lots. >click to read< 11:12

Honouring Whitby’s first female skipper Dora Walker

She was the first woman to fly as a passenger on a plane, and 11th in Britain to drive a car. When her brothers went to war, she followed to the frontline. And when she was told she needed sea air, she defied tradition to become the North East’s first female skipper, sailing the seas with a pistol on her hip and an Army issue tin hat. More than three decades after her death, Whitby Civic Society is to remember skipper Dora Walker, author and museum curator, with a blue plaque to honour her remarkable feats. >click to read< 08:26

Cortez: Net Spreads and Stilt Houses

This week a judge ruled that a famous stilt of the coast of A.P. Bell Fish Company in Sarasota Bay, must be removed. For more than a century, the people of Cortez have made a living harvesting seafood from Sarasota Bay. In the 1880s, the area was settled by five fisherman from Carteret County North Carolina – Charlie Jones, Jim Guthrie and three brothers, Billy, Nate and Sanford Fulford. Back then, Cortez was known as Hunter’s Point,,, The men had a vision, one where they would live off the sea and sell their catch at market. When their plan worked, a slew of relatives, all from Carteret County, followed them down,,, >click to read< 11:11

Canada: History shows a path to resolve lobster fisheries dispute

As we reflect on recent violence in Nova Scotia over the lobster fisheries, it’s important to know if there are any precedents around the core issues and if prior instances can help guide us now. The case of the Saugeen Ojibway of the Great Lakes provides some particularly useful insights to help reach a settlement to the lobster fisheries dispute. Conflict between Indigenous peoples along the Great Lakes and the state has been around since the rise of non-Indigenous commercial and sport fishing around the 1830s and 1840s. In the 1990s, things came to a head,,, >click to read< 08:29

Remembering Pearl Harbor – December 7, 1941, ‘a day that will live in infamy’

Seventy-nine years ago this Dec. 7, the Empire of Japan carried out a sneak attack on American military forces at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. More than 2,400 people — including 68 civilians — died and almost 1,200 more were injured. The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war. The speech has become one of the most famous in American history, and reminds us of the service and sacrifices made by our countrymen during World War II. Here is Roosevelt’s address: Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives: Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 >click to read< 06:50:

Demolition nears for old codfish processing plant – what a story it has to tell!

The building is all that remains of what was, at its founding, the first codfish processing plant north of San Francisco. Many of the untreated pilings, eroded by time, tide and critters were driven by Capt. J.A. Matheson when he built the processing plant in September 1891. By October, the former Provincetown, Massachusetts, sea captain’s schooner, Lizzie Colby, arrived from the Bering Sea with its holds full of cod, ushering in an era of fish curing and fish canning that would provide jobs for hundreds and fuel the economy of an infant city, according to news stories at the time in the Anacortes American. >10 photos, click to read< 15:15

1967: Two fishermen feared dead for almost a week were the toast of Portarlington last night.

In their broken down shark boat Veronica, they had won out after a grim, six-day battle against raging Bass Strait seas. Late on Saturday night, after a desperate last signal for help had been sighted by Cape Otway Lighthouse, the 32-ft. Veronica was taken in tow by another fishing boat. Yesterday morning the two crewmen, skipper Len Joseph, 32, and his mate Ron Oldfield, 34, stepped ashore at Apollo Bay, “back from the dead.”  The engine had failed only two hours after sailing from Port McDonnell. Last Monday the men ran out of food. Len Joseph kept a log book which spells out the drama of the ordeal. >click to read< 08:49

Historic photos: 1942 fishing trip off Provincetown aboard the Provincetown-based dragger F/V Francis and Marion

These amazing photos from 1942 take you aboard the Provincetown-based drag trawler Francis and Marion, fishing off Cape Cod. The trawls are constantly being repaired; while one net is down all hands turn to mending a second one. “Doors,” which when lowered, slide over the bed of the ocean like sled runners, dragging behind them the purse seine which scoops up miscellaneous fish, rocks, crabs, lobsters, and a great deal of slime. 21 photo’s >click to review< 13:07

Gas engines saved the lives of salmon fishermen

Between 1908 and 1911, something happened that almost certainly saved hundreds of men from drowning on the Columbia River Bar. The salmon canneries in Astoria started fitting their gillnet fishing fleets with small gasoline engines. At the time, the mainstay of the Astoria gill-net fishing fleet was a picturesque double-ended lapstrake design, developed by a California man named J.J. Griffin in 1866 for use on the Sacramento River. They were 24 to 30 feet long, 7 to 8 feet wide, sloop-rigged with broad gaff-rigged sails on a relatively short mast. This design quickly caught on and became very famous and popular on river fisheries all up and down the West Coast. >click to read< 11:27

A renowned boatbuilder reimagines a piece of Maine history.

This summer, not long after Rockport Marine owner Taylor Allen presided over the launch of the William Underwood, a 78-year-old sardine carrier he spent 12 years painstakingly restoring, a landlubbing interviewer suggested to him that chatting with wooden-boat fanatics can feel like talking to collectors of ancient Egyptian pottery — the experts’ aesthetic is often lost on those outside the subculture. “I think the word you’re looking for is cult,” Allen offered. Photos, >click to read<  15:40

What happened to Pensacola’s commercial fishing industry?

This industry began when it became possible to put in use a series of key elements which together made such a traffic practical and profitable. The “elements” began, of course, with the fish themselves, some of which had been a part of the economic backbone of the community from the beginning. The open sea was home to the fish, and while some of the works had to be performed some distance from land, netting and icing all were practical for the proper vessels. >click to read< 13:08

Childhood ended early in Cohasset

In the 19th century, it was not unusual for Cohasset children to work in the fishing industry.,,, We know of one boy, Francis Pratt, who at age 8 went to sea as a ship’s cook. His father, Dr. Ezekiel Pratt, Cohasset’s only doctor at the time, was very poor and struggled to feed his eight children. He told them, “I can’t have you gnawing at my ribs any longer,” and in 1826 sent young Francis off to sea on a Cohasset fishing schooner. >click to read(short)< 09:19

K-6 gillnetter is a reminder of Kenai’s long fishing history

One of the earliest commercial transactions involving Alaska salmon occurred in 1786. In that year two British ships stopped in Cook Inlet, which was then under Russian-American Company control, to trade Hawaiian yams for fresh salmon. The Russian-American Company never developed a for-profit salmon industry. However, after the United States acquired Alaska in 1867, Americans began operating salteries in Southeast Alaska to preserve the fish for market. In 1878, the first Alaska cannery was built at Klawock on Prince of Wales Island. Within four years, canneries had reached Cook Inlet in Southcentral Alaska. >click to read<08:31

April 8 – 1950: Eight fishermen drown in sight of Lightship Pollock Rip

On this day in 1950, a fishing boat with eight men aboard sank with no survivors off Chatham after its crew struggled for hours to remain afloat in a howling gale.”The William Landry, a 63-foot scallop dragger out of New Bedford, was smashed to pieces by pounding seas while struggling toward a lightship stationed at Pollock Rip in Nantucket Sound,” the Associated Press reported. >click to read<10:00

Fish fights: Britain has a long history of trading away access to coastal waters

The British boats were outnumbered by about eight to one by the French. Before long there were collisions and projectiles were thrown. The British were forced to retreat, returning to port with broken windows but luckily no injuries. The conflict behind this skirmish between British and French fishers in the Bay de Seine at the end of August 2018 was quickly dubbed the “scallop war” in the press. The French had been trying to prevent the British scallop dredgers from legally fishing the beds in French national waters. But the incident exposed tensions that have been simmering for many years. >click to read<11:23

Columbia River: The fishing life before boats had motors

Several years ago, as Columbia-Pacific Heritage Museum Curator Barbara Minard and I were talking about the many losses of small fishing boats in those days before motors, she stated, with emphasis, “These boats are very important.”1879: “The sorry experiences of fishing this year, although it has cost many lives and the loss of much property in boats and nets, has demonstrated that the best place to catch fish, and the finest fish, is as close as possible to the bar at the entrance of the Columbia river. >click to read<18:07

Help us learn more about the “Michigan Bears” and the men who fished aboard Gloucester’s oldest fishing vessel, the Phyllis A.

On September 6, 1920 five small vessels arrived in Gloucester Harbor and tied up in Smith Cove near Rocky Neck. The little boats and the 20 men who crewed them, had spent 24 days traveling 2,200 miles from Charlevoix, Michigan to start a new life for them selves and their families, doing a method of fishing that had been introduced, but not welcomed, by the fishing industry on the east coast of the Atlantic in the late 1800’s,,, gill net fishing, used here in Gloucester and the East coast to this day. >click to read<21:21

1910: A Cat, A Bulldog, and a Lobster Walk into a Harlem Restaurant…

This quirky animal tale of Old New York begins on a Sunday night in May 1910 when Gus, a brindle bulldog, walked into Fay’s restaurant at 255 West 125th Street in Harlem around 7 p.m. and sat down for dinner with his master. Gus was reportedly well behaved, so he was allowed to sit with his owner, Miss Rose Leland of 516 West 179th Street, as long as his leash was wrapped around her chair while they both ate their dinners. Outside on the sidewalk was an icebox, where live lobsters were kept. >click to read< 09:55

Then and Now: Craig cannery

Just about every town in Southeast Alaska has a cannery. Some have several. I don’t know if its true or not but I heard that at one time Ketchikan had 17. For generations, the Craig cannery was like a vital organ, the heartbeat of town and the primary source of livelihood and activity. Craig woke up each spring with the cannery, and went into hibernation each fall when the purse-seining season was over. I’m a commercial fisherman(Ralph Mackie). My deckhand, who graduated from high school last May, wouldn’t describe the cannery that way at all. >click to read< 17:21

This Day In Icelandic History: The First Casualty Of The Cod Wars Strikes

1976 was the year the Cod Wars between Iceland and Britain ended, but it was not without at least one casualty. The Cod Wars comprised a series of conflicts between Iceland and Great Britain over the use of fishing waters in the North Atlantic. Clashes between the two nations were, for the most part, bloodless. British warships and Icelandic trawlers would get intimidatingly close to one another, sometimes even ramming one another, but for much of the time the conflict was diplomatic. All that would change on February 19 of 1976. >click to read< 10:11

On This Day: February 18 – 1952: Coast Guard rescues 32 sailors from stricken tanker Pendleton

On this day in 1952, one of the most daring rescues in the history of the Coast Guard took place six miles off Chatham. The tanker Pendleton, en route to Boston from Baton Rouge with a cargo of oil, split in two during the winter’s worst storm. Eight crew members were trapped on the ship’s bow; another 33 sailors were stranded on the Pendleton’s stern. And in 1875: Twenty-four Cape Cod fisherman lost as two schooners fail to return from Grand Banks >click to read< 08:52

Linda Brandt: Mullet is so much more than bait

I grew up thinking mullet was only for bait and smoking for dip. That was probably because when I went fishing with my dad, he used mullet for bait. And because he fished with a rod and reel and mullet are mostly caught with cast nets, they didn’t show up freshly caught on our table. Apparently I have been missing out on not only one of Florida’s oldest delicacies, but a piece of state history as well. >click to read< 15:30

“We shall fight on the beaches” – Michael Gerson: ‘Darkest Hour’ proves that history can hinge on a single leader

But the central conceit of the film — that a deflated, defeated Churchill required bucking up by average Brits — is a fiction. Very nearly the opposite was true. The policy of appeasement was broadly popular in Britain during the early to mid-1930s. In 1938, a majority supported Neville Chamberlain’s deal at Munich (which ceded much of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany in return for … nothing). It is more accurate to say that Churchill summoned British courage and defiance by his intense idealization of British character. He saw heroic traits in his countrymen that even they, for a time, could not see. click here to read the story 09:13

On This Day: Dec. 11, 1975 – Attack on British vessels heightens Cod War

An Icelandic gunboat has opened fire on unarmed British fishery support vessels in the North Atlantic Sea, it is reported. The violent clash left the Icelandic coastguard ship, Thor, badly damaged but the three British vessels involved appear to be unaffected. The Thor is said to have tried to arrest the British Star Aquarius and her sister vessel the Star Polaris as they sheltered from a force nine gale within Iceland’s 12 mile territorial waters. click here to read the story 09:03

History — and crabbing — run deep in the Chesapeake Bay town of Hampton

It’s well before dawn and I’m driving through the darkness down a rutted dirt lane toward a small commercial boat marina on the outskirts of Hampton, Va. Pulling up, I can just make out the figure of Lee Smith in the light of a streetlamp. Smith is a fourth-generation Chesapeake Bay waterman who has agreed to take me out on his fishing boat while he harvests blue crabs.,,, “I’m a waterman, not a fisherman,” Smith told me, explaining that while he does trawl for fish, he does much more, including crabbing, clamming and oystering. Watermen have to be versatile to make a living, he says, and that means possessing the skills and equipment to catch whatever is both legally fishable and abundant enough to make money.   click here to read the story 20:11

On Smith Island, Crab Is Everything. What happens when no one’s around to catch Maryland’s prized blue crab?

It’s the hottest day of the summer on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and at a tiki bar that doesn’t serve alcohol on a windless island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, two teenage boys appear, one holding up a small, live blue crab. “Hey Steve, will you cook this for me?” the boy holding the crab asks Steve Dunlap, who’s behind the bar.  “Aw, put it back, Robert,” Dunlap says. Robert sulkily obliges, letting the crab scuttle off into the bay, but makes it clear that he wasn’t going to kill it. Here, on Smith Island, Maryland, there is an overpowering respect, almost a reverence, for the blue crab. At the dead center of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, 12 miles from Maryland’s shore, Smith is a central part of the Maryland crabbing industry, and has been for generations. Here, crab is everything: Food, money, work, family, tradition, history. Crab is life. But it might not be for very much longer. click here to read the story 09:36