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Historical Materials: Maritime & Other Industries & Facilities

Historical Materials  »  Maritime & Other Industries & Facilities  »  Gill Netting

Gill Netting

View related Fitz Henry Lane catalog entries (5) »

Gill netting is a fishing method wherein a fish swims into a net, entangling its gill covers in the mesh and is thus unable to free itself. This method works especially well with smaller species (mackerel and herring) which swim in large schools near the surface and are caught in large numbers. Gill nets with larger mesh sizes have caught larger species, such as cod, but under special situations and with nets set at various depths. These nets came to the fisheries in the 1870s, the nets of Lane's time being set on the surface with wooden floats on their surface edges and weights on their bottom edges.

Lane's depiction of gill netting in Gloucester Harbor in the foreground of Gloucester Harbor, 1852 (inv. 38) could be for either mackerel or herring. A yawl boat (with sail) and a wherry are working with two separate nets which will probably be connected when the wherry has completed setting the one at left. The second net was probably set after the size and direction of the school was determined.

Gill netting in Ipswich Bay was done on a larger scale, using larger nets and larger boats. It was usual practice to leave the nets set overnight, hauling them at midnight and again in the morning. Night haulings involved the use of torches, whose light was a strong attraction to the fish and could significantly improve the catch. Ipswich Bay was lit up over much of its expanse by these lights on a busy summer night.

– Erik Ronnberg

Related tables: Fishing »

illustration
Gill nets deployed
1883
In G. Brown Goode, The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office)
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive, Gloucester, Mass.

Also filed under: Fishing »

illustration
The gill net cod fishery
H. W. Elliott and Capt. Joseph W. Collins
1887
In G. Brown Goode, The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office)

See pl. 45.

Underrunning cod gill-nets in Ipswich Bay, Mass. 

Also filed under: Fishing »

Citation: "Maritime & Other Industries & Facilities." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/historical_material/index.php?type=Maritime+%26+Other+Industries+%26++Facilities§ion=Gill+Netting (accessed September 21, 2017).
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