The oral histories are an in depth look at how the fishing industry affects individual fishermen as well as their families. The oral histories also allow us to gain inside perspective on how management regulations affect the social and cultural aspects of people in the fishery.
Pam Smith is a school teacher from Jonesport, Maine, with a rich family history tracing back to Ireland. She is the second of four siblings, with her older brother living on Beal's Island, her younger brother having lived in California and now shipping out, and her sister residing in Florida. Her husband is a fisherman, involved in various fisheries including quahogging, lobstering, scallop diving, and tuna fishing. He originally bought his boat in 1987 for gill netting, but lost his ground fish permit the same year. Despite this setback, he has managed to make a living from fishing. Pam started teaching before her husband's fishing difficulties began, but she returned to work after having children due to the financial instability caused by the fishing industry.
Scope and Content Note
This interview with Pam Smith, conducted by Lisa Colburn on August 16, 2004, provides a detailed insight into the life of a fisherman's wife and the challenges faced by the fishing community in Jonesport, Maine. Pam discusses her husband's involvement in various fisheries, the loss of his ground fish permit, and the financial difficulties that led her to return to work as a school teacher. She also touches on the impact of red tide on quahogging and the poor scallop catch that prevented her husband from scallop dragging in the past winter. Pam also shares her family history, tracing her ancestry back to Ireland, and discusses her upbringing in Jonesport, including her role models and the close-knit nature of her family. She provides information about her siblings and their current locations, as well as her husband's family and their involvement in the fishing industry. The interview also explores the role of women in the fishing industry, with Pam noting an increase in women picking out crabs and working as stern men for their husbands. She suggests that this trend may be related to financial benefits, as it allows families to keep more income within the family. Pam herself worked as a stern man for her husband one summer when money was scarce.
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