Category Archives: Fishing

The Net Result: Our Evolving Fisheries 2016 History Conference


Photo courtesy of Maine Sardine Council Collection

The Penobscot Marine Museum November Newsletter included this announcement:

A World War II propaganda poster in our collection states, “Fish is a Fighting Food!”  Today, we are in a fight to save our fisheries, some from perspective of government over-regulation and others from a view that we have overfished the resource.  Most can agree that the technological revolution between World War II and today has allowed fishermen to go farther faster and find and retrieve fish with greater mechanical and technological ease.  As everyone fights for the fishery, the question is “where do we go from here?”

Join us next Saturday, November 5 at the UMaine Hutchinson Center, as our line-up of speakers look at the evolution of fisheries policy, consumption, and sustainability efforts from an ocean activist’s and a fisherman’s perspective, and how one periodical, the National Fisherman, documented that evolution.

Learn more at <>

National Fisherman Collection Now Available Online

National Fisherman site

The first 5000 images in the National Fisherman Collection are now live. Ben Fuller is in the process of adding dates and locations to this group as well as reviewing the subject headings and search terms. Please contact him via with any suggestions or corrections. He expects to have the next 5000 up early in the summer.

Submitted by Ben Fuller, Curator, Penobscot Marine Museum, April 5, 2016

Query on location codes for National Fisherman photo catalog

“In working through the National Fisherman photographic collection cataloging we are adding locations wherever they are part of the photographs informational record. But in many cases there are no recorded locations, but we can tell what area of the country the record belongs, e.g., a So Cal tuna clipper, an Alaskan King Crabber, a Chesapeake Deadrise. So the thought occurs to code some area designations. It would be handy to use something currently existing like Coast Guard districts which are now bigger than they were at one time. Or we can create our own. What do CAMM members who might be looking for images think would be useful?”

Submitted by Ben Fuller,, Penobscot Marine Museum

Member Update –Evelyn S Preservation Completed

After a year and a half of dedicated effort, the Michigan Maritime Museum announces that the preservation of its 1939 wooden fish tug, the Evelyn S, was completed in the fall of 2015 through the good work of apprentices from the Great Lakes Boat Building School (GLBBS) and local contractors.


Grant funding for the project was awarded to the City of South Haven and the Michigan Maritime Museum (MMM) from the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, Coastal Zone Management Program, Department of Environmental Quality. Lead financial contributions to match the grant were made by Cottage Home, Inc., owned and operated by MMM board member, Brian Bosgraaf. Preservation efforts included an initial marine survey conducted by Pat Mahon, director and lead instructor of the GLBBS. Rebuilding much of the tug’s deteriorated house was a major part of the preservation process undertaken by GLBBS apprentice Hans Wagner. Painting the entire boat and re exhibiting it in a newly landscaped section of the Museum’s campus finished the project.

To enhance the exhibit, a technology station was added at the base of the Evelyn S with a video that features the history of commercial fishing in South Haven, the process of moving and preserving the tug and some inside footage of its pilot house, Kalenberg engine and net lifter equipment:

Submitted by Sandy Norris, Michigan Maritime Museum

Regions for a National Fisherman Database

In his continuing work on a fisheries database Ben queries fellow CAMM members:

In discussions with people at the recent Museum Small Craft workshop and with others, it is apparent that we should have some regional way of coding records. We can often identify a region where we can’t be more specific about geographic location for a fishery. Question is what we should use as regions. 

We can go with current Coast Guard districts, nice and simple. Would that be enough?

Or I can work up a finer grain system. 

What do people think?

Contact Ben at <>.

Penobscot Marine Museum Seeks Input on Fisheries Database

Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

At the recent CAMM meeting Cipperly Good let the membership know that we are at work on imaging and cataloging the 25,000 or so photographs in the National Fisherman collection. This is a visual document of the American fishery from about 1950 to 2000. We hope to have 5,000 images up this summer and will have special pages for these on our web site.

The collection contains material from all over the country, from the Gulf shrimp industry to Bering Sea king crabbers, from California salmon trollers to the Maine lobster industry.

Since the numbers of images in some categories is likely to grow into the hundreds if not thousands I have been thinking about prepackaging some searches on the overall website. And here I can use help because I don’t know what people want to know about fisheries outside of Maine. How do CAMM members address these? These could take the form of drop down lists: regions, craft, species, and/or themes that people might be curious about such as Deadliest Catch.

Please download and review this working spreadsheet of search and subjects. Note the subject headings and search terms that are currently in use that are especially relevant to National Fisheries. Also note the question about regionalization. Comments, additions and clarifications would be welcome. Please email them to me at <> 

Submitted by Ben Fuller, Penobscot Marine Museum

1939 Wooden Fish Tug Under Restoration

Submitted by Sandy Bryson at the Michigan Maritime Museum

CAMM members who attended the annual meeting in Toledo last April will remember the presentation on the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail and the Evelyn S exhibited at the Michigan Maritime Museum. The 1939 wooden fish tug is under extensive restoration and has been moved to a new location on the Museum’s campus in South Haven. This video documents the mid-stage of the restoration of her “turtle back” house and the excitement of seeing her in the slings as she is transported to her new location. Ship’s carpentry work on the Evelyn S is being done by apprentices from the Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville, Michigan. The project is funded by local in-kind contributions and a grant to the City of South Haven from the Coastal Zone Management Program, Office of the Great Lakes, Department of Environmental Quality, State of Michigan.

Gill Net Gear & Materials Available to CAMM Members

Below is a list of objects approved for deaccession by the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society (PSMHS), located in Seattle, WA. The historical society holds legal title for all of these objects, and each one is available for transfer to an appropriate institution.

For more information or if your institution is interested in a particular item, please contact Jessica Bellingham at jbelling [at] by December 15, 2013. Items will be transferred on a first-come, first-served basis. Please include the accession number when inquiring about an object.

All the objects below are from a collection of gill net gear & materials from Frank Scott, a gill netter.  We would be glad to transfer to a permanent collection or to an education collection.

Thanks very much for your time, and we hope you find something that interests you & your institution!

  • PS2000.23.1 – Sail, cotton, white, sprit sail rig, Frank Scott gillnetter 1913. A photograph of Frank Scott in his first gill netter with this sail exists in a Bellingham or fisheries history book; may be in PSMHS collection.  Condition unknown.
  • PS2000.23.2 – Spars, for gillnetter sail PS2000.23.1, peeled saplings.  Mast, boom and sprit, ends worked for mast step and sail pockets, sail lash to spars with integral ties.
  • PS2000.23.4 –Gill net.
  • PS2000.23.5 –Net, large.
  • PS2000.23.6 –Net, green nylon with synthetic float bag (measurements unknown; not handmade).
  • PS2000.23.8 – Gillnetting tool of unknown purpose; trough in shape, wood with handle, made by Frank Scott, orange paint, material 1″ thick,  “V” shaped.
  • PS2000.23.9 –Net weight lines of synthetic fiber rope (not handmade).
  • PS2000.23.10 –Net weight lines of natural fiber rope (probably not handmade).
  • PS2000.23.11 –3 orange plastic fenders used for gill net boat or as net markers.
  • PS2000.23.12 –Foam floats circled by Turk’s head knots
  • PS2000.23.15 –Lantern globes (3) used for gillnet marking
  • PS2000.23.17 –Gill net of green synthetic fiber, dimensions unknown but could be up to 100 fathoms long
  • PS2000.23.18 –Net of natural manila fiber, length unknown
  • PS2000.23.19 –Net of natural manila fiber, length unknown
  • PS2000.23.20 –Net of synthetic green fiber, 10 fathoms long
  • PS2000.23.22 –Gill net of fine white nylon mesh in paper bag marked “DOG WEB” by Frank Scott
  • PS2000.23.23 –Raft dog of forged iron
  • PS2000.23.25 – Galley Stove
  • PS2000.23.27 –Clothes wringer (old fashioned wooden/hand cranked rollers) used to wring liquid tar from nets after preservative process
  • PS2000.23.28 –Galvanized iron rings of varying sizes used for rigging gill nets
  • PS2000.23.29 –Handmade steel or brass hooks for hanging gill nets in net house, record says “Use for authentic atmosphere in exhibits”
  • PS2000.23.30 –Foul weather jacket of rubber covered fabric
  • PS2000.23.31 –Foul weather trousers of rubber covered fabric with braces
  • PS2000.23.32 –Foul weather jacket of rubber covered fabric, with hood
  • PS2000.23.33 –Yellow rubber fisherman’s apron
  • PS2000.23.34 –Floating pole net marker with Spanish corks.
  • PS2000.23.35 –Float for oil lantern marker
  • PS2000.23.37 –Spanish cork floats strung on line, in bag (length/number of floats unknown)
  • PS2000.23.38 –Board with handhold at center, possibly used as a divider for fish hold on small gill net boat
  • PS2000.23.39 –Commercially made plastic orange fender
  • PS2000.23.40 –Oil lantern marker with no globe and misc. refill parts
  • PS2000.23.41 –Galvanized iron rings strung on manila rope (length unknown)
  • PS2000.23.43 –Galvanized iron cleat with roller
  • PS2000.23.44 –Net weights of lead, possibly cast by Frank Scott, some on nylon line and others loose
  • PS2000.23.45 –Wooden box marked: “Bellingham Shipyard Co., Squalicum Waterway, Bellingham, Washington”; record says “useful for exhibit authenticity”
  • PS2000.23.46 –Commercially made plastic gillnet floats previously stored in PS2000.23.45 (wooden box)
  • PS2000.23.42/.47 – Ship’s wheel, 20” diameter, from unspecified small fishing boat
  • PS2000.23.48 – Steering chain for wheel PS2000.23.42/.47
  • PS2000.23.49 –Weight line for gill net with weights poured onto line by Frank Scott (est. 10 fathoms long)
  • PS2000.23.50 –Roller assembly for stern of gill net boat to guide nets when being set or retrieved; made by a blacksmith for Frank Scott
  • PS2000.23.51 –Spanish cork floats (2 bags- or 6 cu ft. worth)
  • PS2000.23.56 –Fishing line of manila (3 fathoms), made by Frank Scott
  • PS2000.23.57 –Gill net remnants braided into hanks for unknown purposes by Frank Scott, with galvanized metal iron rings
  • PS2000.23.58 –Gill net float markers (2) of plywood, with circular plate to hold lantern
  • PS2000.23.60 –Club or paddle of unknown purpose, handmade by Frank Scott
  • PS2000.23.61 –Galvanized iron oarlocks, two pairs
  • PS2000.23.62 –Weight line for gill net with weights braided into rope by Frank Scott (approx. 6 fathoms)
  • PS2000.23.63 –Weight line for gill net with weights poured onto synthetic rope by Frank Scott (approx. 6 fathoms)
  • PS2000.23.65 –Pants of heavy wool worn by Frank Scott in cold weather
  • PS2000.23.66 –Knot work: “two spectacle eyes of double loops spliced in manila line; one the eye splices are formed by whipping in center of loop; one with Turk’s head knot whipping the center of the loop to form double eye. Made by Frank Scott”
  • PS2000.23.69 –Navigation light (white) with aluminum housing
  • PS2000.23.70 –Crucible for pouring molten lead
  • PS2000.23.71 –Hook with flattened end and 4 drilled holes, purpose unknown (possibly for hanging gill nets)
  • PS2000.23.74 –Commercially made fishing rod of split bamboo
  • PS2000.23.75 –Commercially made fishing rod of tempered steel
  • PS2000.23.76 –Commercially made fishing rod of tapered fiberglass
  • PS2000.23.77 –Fender handmade by Frank Scott of canvas and filled with unknown material