Peconic Estuary Interviews

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Nancy Solomon
  • In 1997 the Peconic Estuary Council hired Nancy Solomon to interview East End fishermen and baymen as part of its work in developing a master plan for the estuary.  Solomon interviewed ten fishermen and continued to document the east end fishermen in later years.

Interviewee Collection Sort descending Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation
Bob Bourguignon Peconic Estuary Interviews

Bob Bourguignon is a renowned figure in the world of Peconic Baymen, hailing from the region of Flanders in Long Island, New York. Born and raised in the area, Bob has dedicated his life to the art of shellfishing and has become a respected expert in his field. Bob's journey as a Peconic Bayman began at a young age, learning the ropes and techniques from his family members who were involved in the same profession. His uncle, in particular, played a significant role in shaping Bob's understanding and passion for shellfishing.

Nancy Solomon Flanders, NY Long Island Traditions
Roland Clark Peconic Estuary Interviews

Roland Clark is a traditional fisher from Shelter Island, NY, who learned a variety of harvesting activities within his family that stretches back to the 1700s.  In this interview, topics examined include shell fishing and fin fishing activities, environmental changes and family history.

Nancy Solomon Shelter Island, NY Long Island Traditions
Bill Gaffga Peconic Estuary Interviews

Bill Gaffga, a native of the area, comes from a lineage of fishermen. Born into the fishing business, he spent nine years in the service before working for General Motors in Lockport for about six years. However, he found the prospect of spending twenty years in a job he didn't enjoy unbearable, leading him to return to his roots in fishing. Gaffga began working on the bay in 1975 and continues to do so, despite the challenges brought about by the brown water in 1985. His fishing activities are diverse, adapting to the season and the catch available.

Nancy Solomon Southold, NY Long Island Traditions
Wayne Grothe Peconic Estuary Interviews

Wayne Grothe is an experienced shellfisherman with over 24 years of work in the field. Wayne has primarily worked on the south shore, specifically in areas like Shinnecock Bay. He is resident of Southampton and was an active commercial fisherman until around 2001 when he transitioned to working for the Nature Conservancy of Long Island. With his experience and expertise, Wayne became a keen observer of the ecological changes occurring in the Peconics and the South Shore regions.

Nancy Solomon Southampton, NY Long Island Traditions
Jack Kelly Peconic Estuary Interviews

Jack Kelly is a lifelong resident of Southold, Long Island, and has witnessed significant changes in the local environment and fishing industry over the years. Born in the late 1940s, he grew up near Gardiners' Island, where he recalls a fort on the North side and the erosion that caused the road to wash away.

Nancy Solomon Southold, NY Long Island Traditions
Jim McKearn and Milton Miller Peconic Estuary Interviews

Jim McKearn is an elderly semi-retired fisherman who hails from East Hampton, New York. With a fishing career spanning over several decades, Jim has witnessed firsthand the environmental challenges faced by the fishing industry. Born before World War Two, he has seen the effects of industrial pollution, garbage, and runoff on the local waters. Jim has primarily worked in the areas of Gardeners Bay, East Hampton Bay, and Montauk Point, which are located between the north and south of Gardeners Bay.

Nancy Solomon East Hampton, NY Long Island Traditions
Howard Pickerell Peconic Estuary Interviews

Howard Pickerell was a commercial fisher during the 1950s - 1980's in Huntington, NY. In the 1980's he began building garveys and other commercial fishing boats for East End baymen, eventually moving to Southampton. He continued to work on the bay part-time. With the demise of the East End fishing industry during the 1990's, he began working in the Town of Southampton's aquaculture program raising oysters. This interview examines the different phases of Pickerell's life.

Nancy Solomon Southampton, NY Long Island Traditions
Doug Rogers Peconic Estuary Interviews

Doug Rogers Sr. and Jean Rogers are a couple residing in Brooklyn, New York. Doug was born in Brooklyn, but his father and grandfather hailed from East Marion. During the Great Depression, Doug's family moved to Brooklyn but returned to East Marion when he was born. Doug's father worked as a house painter, and his grandfather was a gentleman farmer. Doug spent 35 years working on the bay, learning the trade from a seasoned fisherman named Raymond Rackett, who was a third-generation fisherman.

Nancy Solomon , East Marion, NY Long Island Traditions
Tom Ruhle Peconic Estuary Interviews

Tom Ruhle was a clam "diver" who worked on the east end of Long Island, primarily in Lake Montauk but also in East Hampton. The interview examines harvesting methods, habitat changes, and environmental and regulatory history in this area.

Nancy Solomon Montauk, NY Long Island Traditions
Jon Semlear Peconic Estuary Interviews

Bayman Jon Semlear is a pound trap fisherman and bass fisherman in Sag Harbor. In this short interview he shares his knowledge of the bay, ecological changes, and close calls he's had on the water.

Nancy Solomon Sag Harbor, NY Long Island Traditions