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Fishing for herrings

Janet Chadband and Dennis Knight, 2013

Dennis: they would all have a couple of nets and you’d put a net in the boat, that was your two nets, if you hadn’t got any nets then you just when and you had a share of the catch. They had two nets or four nets and they’d go and there was four or five men in the boats here then like the bigger ones, like the Winifred and that, herring fishing.

Interviewer – Barbara: When are we talking now, like the 1930’s ?

Dennis: No, No, 40’s we aren’t that old, I know we look old (laughter).

Interviewer – Barbara: After the War then?

Dennis: In the War, before the War and after the War. If you go and look at Geoffrey Provis’ book I think it was the first one and he goes right back into the pilchard sailing, when they used to put a big seine (net) outside it was like an aquarium, they used to leave the fish swimming around in there for 3 or 4 days until they got fed up and started to die and they would keep going out and keep bailing them out and bringing them in as they wanted them but when I came to Port Isaac when I was 9 so that would be 1949 it was just starting to tail off then and I never saw the great big shots of herring you know Jan probably did.

Janet: No I didn’t

Dennis: They would pile them up on the beach. The boats would come in literally that far out of the water. (Dennis shows with his hands a very narrow space).

Interviewer – Barbara: The herring stopped within a very short space of time then.

Dennis: I think the Gulf Stream changed. But they’re back again now. Ya I think the Gulf Stream changed and that’s what did it.


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