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.G. Pool

Interview with fisherman W.G. Pool of Gloucester, MA by members of the U.S. Fish Commission. Interview contains descriptions of the mackerel fishery.

Unknown 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
Charles H. Pew

Charles H. Pew of the firm John Pew & Sons in Gloucester, MA was interviewed by William Wakeham, Richard Rathbun and Hugh M. Smith of the U.S. Fish Commission. Interview contains descriptions of gear types, technology and 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
John J. Pentacost

Interview with fisherman John J. Pentacost 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
Benjamin Payson

This interview with Captain Benjamin Payson of Gloucester, MA took place on November 16, 1893. William Wakeham and Hugh M. Smith conducted the interview in an effort to gain information on the mackerel fishery. At the time of the interview, Payson had 40 years of experience and was captain of the vessel S.F. Macker out of Gloucester, MA.

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
Thomas C. Parish

Interview with fisherman Thomas C. Parish 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
N. Orchard

Interview with fisherman N. Orchard of Boothbay, Maine, by Richard Rathbun of the U.S. Fish Commission. Interview contains descriptions of the mackerel fishery.

Richard Rathbun Boothbay, 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
Joseph O'Brien

Interview with Harbor Inspector and Fishery Overseer Joseph O'Brien of St. John, N.B. Interview contains descriptions of New Brunswick fisheries, St. John County, saw mill and tanning industry, factories, industrial pollution and salmon populations.

Unknown St. John, New Brunswick 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
G.W. Nass

Interview with Captain G.W. Nass of 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
John C. Mills

Interview with fisherman John C. Mills 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 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
Levi N. McLean

Interview with fisherman Levi N. McLean 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

By clicking the "I understand" button you acknowledge that the Voices Oral History Archives offers public access to a wide range of accounts, including historical materials, that may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes.

Voices Oral History Archives does not  edit or verify  the accuracy of materials submitted to us. These interviews are presented as part of the historical record.  The opinions expressed in the interviews are those of the interviewee only.

The interviews here have been made available to the public only after the interviewer has confirmed that they have obtained consent from the interviewee.