Sailing for Salmon

Bristol Bay's sailing salmon fleet being towed to the grounds.

Bristol Bay’s sailing salmon fleet being towed to the grounds.

We am a total sucker for these kinds of pictures. Eerie, evocative, beautifully composed, we love looking at them.  Then we start to think how cold and uncomfortable it must have been, perhaps raining, certainly windy, probably damp or downright wet. Fishing was hard and dangerous work.

But it makes for great pictures and these are from a 68-page publication called Sailing for Salmon: The Early Years of Fishing in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, 1884-1951. It’s written by Tim Troll and  John Branson for Anchorage Museum, as part of an exhibit from its photography archives.

Some of the men in these pictures might have been from Astoria; certainly some were from Seattle.  We’re not sure when this picture was taken, but men fished using sails in Bristol Bay until the 1950s. The federal government, which managed Alaskan fisheries during those years,  had no control over how many men and boats entered the fishery. To ease the pressure on the stocks, they mandated inefficiencies–such as having sailing boats to catch salmon in the Bay.

Sailing for Salmon on Bristol Bay

Sailing for Salmon on Bristol Bay


About finleyc

I'm a writer and a historian of science. I'm interested in the intersection of science and policy in the oceans, and especially around fishing.
This entry was posted in Carmel Finley, Environmental History, fisheries science, Fishing, History of Science, History of Technology, Maritime History, Ocean fishing, Pacific Fishing History Project, Resources About Fishing, World History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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