Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895 | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    William Wakeham , Richard Rathbun
  • In the late 19th century, the U.S. Fish Commission conducted numerous interviews with fishermen throughout the northeast U.S. including cod and mackerel fishermen from New York, New England and Nova Scotia. Most fishermen interviewed in the 1890s by the commission were over 50 years of age and recollected changes in the marine environment during their lifetimes. These interviews, or oral histories, are an excellent source for observations of Gulf of Maine fisheries. They provide first-hand accounts and observations of fish behavior and fishing activity on specific fishing grounds such as Stellwagen Bank. Most interviewees discuss the migratory patterns and behaviors of mackerel on the east coast. In addition, the fishermen offer descriptions of fish and catch sizes as well as theories for the decline in cod and mackerel in the 19th century. 

Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
W.L. Zwicker

Interview with fisherman W.L. Zwicker, an agent of the Fisheries Intelligence Bureau, Lunenburg, N.S. by William Wakeham and Richard Rathbun of the U.S. Fish Commission. Interview contains descriptions of the mackerel fishery.

William Wakeham, Richard Rathbun Lunenberg, Nova Scotia U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Archives II , New England Regional National Archives Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895
Eliphalet Wharf

Captain Eliphalet Wharf of Gloucester, MA was interviewed by William Wakeham and Hugh M. Smith of the U.S. Fish Commission. Interview contains descriptions of the mackerel fishery and commentary on the use of seining technology.

William Wakeham, Hugh M. Smith Gloucester, MA U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Archives II , New England Regional National Archives Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895
Henry Weaver

Interview with fisherman Henry Weaver of Lunenburg, N.S. by William Wakeham and Richard Rathbun of the U.S. Fish Commission. Interview contains information on N.S. mackerel fishery.

William Wakeham, Richard Rathbun Lunenberg, Nova Scotia U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Archives II , New England Regional National Archives Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895
John F. Vanteir

Interview with fisherman John F. Vanteir of Gloucester, MA by William Wakeham and Hugh M. Smith of the U.S. Fish Commission. Interview contains descriptions of the mackerel fishery.

William Wakeham, Hugh M. Smith East Gloucester, MA U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Archives II , New England Regional National Archives Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895
Norman J.B. Tooker

Interview with fisherman Norman J.B. Tooker of A.F. Stoneman & Co., Yarmouth, N.S. by William Wakeham and Richard Rathbun of the U.S. Fish Commission. Interview contains descriptions of the mackerel fishery.

William Wakeham, Richard Rathbun Yarmouth, Nova Scotia U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Archives II , New England Regional National Archives Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895
Russell D. Terry

Interview with fisherman Russell D. Terry of Gloucester, MA by William Wakeham and Hugh M. Smith of the U.S. Fish Commission. Interview contains descriptions of the mackerel fishery.

William Wakeham, Hugh M. Smith Gloucester, MA U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Archives II , New England Regional National Archives Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895
David Tarr

David Tarr, of James G. Tarr & Bro. in Gloucester, MA was interviewed by William Wakeham and Hugh M. Smith. Interview contains descriptions of the mackerel fishery.

William Wakeham, Hugh M. Smith Gloucester, MA U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Archives II , New England Regional National Archives Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895
A.M. Smith

This interview with fish dealer A.M. Smith of Portland, ME took place on November 23, 1893. Members of the Joint Fisheries Commission conducted the interview in an effort to gain information on the mackerel fishery.

Unknown Portland, ME U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Archives II , New England Regional National Archives Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895
H.M. Seelyr

Interview with Captain H.M. Seelyr of Gloucester, MA by William Wakeham, Richard Rathbun and Hugh M. Smith of the U.S. Fish Commission. Interview contains descriptions of the mackerel fishery.

William Wakeham, Richard Rathbun , Hugh M. Smith Gloucester, MA U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Archives II , New England Regional National Archives Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895
Solomon A. Rowe

Interview with fisherman Solomon A. Rowe of Gloucester, MA by William Wakeham, Richard Rathbun and Hugh M. Smith of the U.S. Fish Commission. Interview contains descriptions of the mackerel fishery.

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NOTE: The PDF of this transcript is available upon request.  Email voices@noaa.gov for access.

William Wakeham, Richard Rathbun , Hugh M. Smith Gloucester, MA U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Archives II , New England Regional National Archives Fishermen Interviews of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 1893-1895