Cleaning and processing cod in Vinalhaven. Vinalhaven had a long history of fish processing. Edwin Lane, and Thomas G. Libby began a wholesale fish packing business in 1878, and incorporated this business as the Vinalhaven Fish Co. in 1895. In 1903, they added glue to their salt fish business as the Vinalhaven Glue Co. and in 1908 incorporated their three businesses as the Lane-Libby Fisheries Co., selling stock. The processing plant added a freezing plant in 1909, the first such on the east coast, and by 1910 had 125,000 feet of floor space. The company lasted into the 1920s.
Work in the fisheries was not limited to men. Women and children were very involved in the processing of the fish catch. Here is a posed photograph with people clearly aware of the camera. Generally women and children were found in fish processing plants like canneries rather than cleaning and splitting on the beach.
In the 1950s there was a very large herring fish weir in Searsport, Maine, as shown on this aerial photograph. Fish swam along the shore, ran into the leader, then swam around in circles inside the pound. Fishermen often caught the fish using a seine net inside the weir. Similar weirs were found in towns like Rockport and on the islands in the Muscle Ridge group. These weirs supplied canneries in Belfast and Rockland.
Fishing line and reel. Wooden reel with cotton line. This fishing line and wooden reel were presumably used by Benjamin Franklin Pendleton Nichols for handline fishing in Penobscot Bay in the 1900s. "B.F.P. Nichols 1928" is written on the reel. B.F.P. Nichols, 1883-1941, was the son of Searsport's Capt. Wilfred Virum Nichols.
This reel is designed so that it can be spun around the central pivot, letting line be wound in faster than a regular hand line.
George's Bank hand-line crew. On the right a fisherman is hand-line fishing. To the left a fish is being hoisted over the rail with a gaff. In the center, cod tongues, a delicacy, are being cut out before the fish is cleaned, split and salted.
This image is from G. Brown Goode's The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States, 1884-1887, Section V, Plate 32. The book can be found on line at NOAA.
Old style Grand Bank cod schooner; crew at rail fishing with hand-lines. Mainers without the capital to invest in schooners carrying dories, or dory trawlers, continued to fish these smaller schooners into the late 19th century, after they were obsolete on the Banks.
This image is from G. Brown Goode's The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States, 1884-1887, Section V, Plate 23. The book can be found on line at NOAA.
This chart, dating to the mid 19th century, shows some of the popular fishing banks in the upper Gulf of Maine and off the coast of Maine, including Jeffrey's Ledge, Jeffrey's Bank, and Cashes' Ledge. The lighthouses and their ranges are clearly marked.