Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Keeping Family & Fishing in Perspective

In the books “The Doryman’s Reflection” and “Swimming in Circles,” ex-commercial fisherman turned author Paul Molyneaux tells the sad story of the decline of small family owned and operated commercial fishing operations, as he experienced it.  In the old days, commercial fishing was the realm of small family operations and knowledge was passed down from generation to generation.  Little by little, these traditional fishing businesses were forced out of business by huge operations dubbed “factory fishing.”  The traditional fishermen had great knowledge of the sea and the fish within.  They would always leave enough of a species, so its populations would replenish by the next season.  Factory fishing, driven by Wall Street investment and ethics, as well as the need to show a quarterly profit, would maximize the number of fish taken without letting the population rebound.  Small, family owner fishing operations declined.

It is reassuring to see that there are still some stores that sell all the marine hardware that traditional fishermen have always used.  They carry rope, chains, shackles, nets and traps.  You can find everything you need for a small shrimping or crabbing operation.  There is still a place in the world for small independent fishing operations.

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