Tag Archives: fishing

British Pathé film: Grimsby’s Trade Stimulant (1934)

My thanks to Liam Robinson for passing on the link to this video about the openin of a new fish dock to boost Grimsby’s fishing industry.

Digging about on YouTube also reveals the following British Pathé clips.

Photographer Ellen Tynan in Egypt

Photographer Ellen Tynan has some impressive sets of photographs on Flickr – the photos in this collection set one thinking about the boats and people they depict, and are also a powerful reminder that there’s more to present-day Egypt than tourism and dreadful political troubles.

Here she is photographing currachs and hookers on the coast of Ireland, and here capturing the fishermen of Huanchaco, Peru, working from reed canoes.

My thanks to Tim Shaw of the weblog ChineBlog for leading me to her work.

How fishermen found evidence for Doggerland and its people

The Dogger Bank: NASA image of the North Sea, with the outline of the famous fishing grounds added. Source: Wikimedia Commons

I came across a fascinating article about the lost land of Doggerland and its people on the National Geographic website the other day. It begins with this:

‘When signs of a lost world at the bottom of the North Sea first began to appear, no one wanted to believe them. The evidence started to surface a century and a half ago, when fishermen along the Dutch coast widely adopted a technique called beam trawling. They dragged weighted nets across the seafloor and hoisted them up full of sole, plaice, and other bottom fish. But sometimes an enormous tusk would spill out and clatter onto the deck, or the remains of an aurochs, woolly rhino, or other extinct beast. The fishermen were disturbed by these hints that things were not always as they are. What they could not explain, they threw back into the sea.

‘Generations later a resourceful amateur paleontologist named Dick Mol persuaded the fishermen to bring him the bones and note the coordinates of where they had found them. In 1985 one captain brought Mol a beautifully preserved human jawbone, complete with worn molars. With his friend, fellow amateur Jan Glimmerveen, Mol had the bone radiocarbon-dated. It turned out to be 9,500 years old, meaning the individual lived during the Mesolithic period, which in northern Europe began at the end of the last ice age some 12,000 years ago and lasted until the advent of farming 6,000 years later. “We think it comes from a burial,” says Glimmerveen. “One that has lain undisturbed since that world vanished beneath the waves, about 8,000 years ago.”’

Read the article at National Geographic.

Gotty and the Guv’nor

Gotty and the guv’nor: a true narrative of Gotty’s doings ashore & afloat, with an account of his voyage of discovery on a shrimping bawley in the English channel

There are many smiles and a few laughs in this daft old book published in 1907 – though it might reasonably be subtitled ‘a true collection of the sorts of stories waterside blokes are apt to tell even today’.

Read a writerly little piece about the author, novelist Arthur E Arthur Copping, here.

My thanks to Nigel who runs the the Bexley London Borough Blog for leading me to this one!

PS – I gather from Dick Johnson (see comments below) that there’s another Gotty book Gotty in Furren Parts, but I’ve been unable to find an archive link, and it does seem to be pretty scarce… Shame!

The Last Fisherman – a chance to try to prevent fishing from disappearing from our coasts

The blokes in this film make a powerful point; small-scale fishing around our coasts is in danger.

As so often in life, the quotas have somehow landed in the hands of the right and powerful, and now those who fish in a small-scale and sustainable way are going bust, and something has to change. Sign Greenpeace’s petition here.

Here’s what Greenpeace has to say about the film:

‘This film was born out of numerous visits to low impact fishermen all over the English coast, whom we’ve been working with closely this year. We made it to give these fishermen, who use sustainable methods, a chance to tell their story, in their own words.

‘The one consistent theme that kept emerging on our visits was this: their future, and the future of our fish stocks, is under real threat. European and domestic fishing laws favour the most powerful parts of the European fishing industry, often with the highest environmental impact, while shutting out those who fish in the right way.’

There’s also this little campaign song to consider:

PS – This article on the same topic appeared in The Guardian

PPS – Fishing communities seem to be under threat in Ireland as well as all round our shores. Rower, boat builder and sustainability expert Osbert Lancaster has been in touch to point out that the Scottish Crofting Federation has just issued a study of two communities on Barra and ArranmoreConnecting Coastal Communities.

Here’s the SCF’s blurb:

‘On both islands the fishermen believe that their livelihood and way of living is being threatened by powerful institutions who are not listening to them. On Barra the dispute centres around proposals by the Scottish Government’s nature conservation body, Scottish Natural Heritage, to designate two European marine conservation areas in waters off the island (one of which, at the time of writing in June 2012, has already been approved for designation by the Scottish Government while the other awaits a decision). Meanwhile on the Donegal islands, including Arranmore the dispute is about the Irish Government’s moratorium on drift-net fishing for salmon and on what the islanders feel are crippling restrictions that have been placed on their ability to to fish with nets in their local waters.’

Kipperman Mike Smylie has been campaigning on this issue for years. See his website here.