Thursday, February 05, 2009

Additional Photos of American Cod Gillnet Fishing in 1880/81

Feeling that the photos shown below the post describing the first use and making of glass floats in America, were too small, I decided to take some photos from the book, HOUSE MISCELLANEOUS DOCUMENTS 1st. Session, 48th. Congress 1883-'84 vol.33, REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISH AND FISHERIES 1884. Perhaps the readers of this blog will appreciate seeing in more detail, the construction and use of the nets.

The top photo shows the method for checking the nets for fish. The method is called "Underrunning."
Here is the description of the method from the book:

"Fish are caught only at night, and, consequently, the nets are underrun only in the morning, unless the men are detained by unfavorable weather until later in the day. In underrunning, the fisherman goes to one of the buoys on the end of his gang of nets, takes it in the dory, and hauls away on the buoy line, the buoy being thrown out on the other side, and the line allowed to run out on one side as fast as it is hauled in on the other. When the anchor line (or underrunning line, as it is sometimes called)is up, it is taken across the dory, and the fisherman hauls along towards the net. The gear is underrun by pulling the nets in on one side of the dory, and, as fast as the fish are removed, allowing the apparatus to pass over the other side into the water; the anchors, which remain firmly fixed in the bottom, holding the nets in position until the work is accomplished. When the end of the gang is reached, it is thrown off the dory, and the nets remain setting as before, needing no further attention until the next day.
As will be readily understood, this method of fishing can be carried on with the minimum of labor; and it also has this additional advantage, namely, while the gear is still out, the vessel may take her morning's catch to market, or, if the weather is threatening, she may remain quietly at anchor overnight in the nearest harbor, though in the meantime her nets are fishing."


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