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Visit the NOAA Photo Library's Historic Fisheries Album for depictions of 19th Century fisheries work.

Stories and tales of the fisheries service

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Fishing - most of us think of fishing as a recreational pursuit, but there are those for whom it is a way of life. These are the men and women who live in coastal cities and put out in small vessels to battle blizzards and ice if in the North, hurricanes and crushing heat if in the South, dangerous gear that can kill in a moment, and marine creatures that can bite, sting, or even poison the careless fisherman. Boats can capsize, cables break, and sometimes their own hooks can carry an unsuspecting fisherman over the side. Fishing is a dangerous business. The following are not only historical essays about the men and women who put the bounty of the seas on our tables, but also the stories of the scientists that study the fish of the sea, their laboratories, and the ships that have ranged throughout the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in search of the knowledge that will help us understand and manage our fisheries resources for the good of future generations.

All of the following articles were extracted from George Brown Goode’s 1884 compendium of Nineteenth Century American Fisheries, “The Fisheries and Fishery industries of the United States,” Section IV, Fishermen of the United States. We are all indebted to Goode for capturing the culture of the American fisherman.

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Fishermen of the United States - Superstitions
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Fishermen of the United States - Dialect
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Dangers of the Fisheries - Dangers to the Vessels
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Dangers to Fishermen on Vessels and in Boats
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Provision for Bereaved Families of Fishermen

Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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