The mackerel fleet in Boothbay Harbor, ca. 1890
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The 1890s mackerel fleet was taking shelter in protected Boothbay Harbor during some rough weather when this photograph was taken. The passenger steamer Nahanada was passing through the fleet, heading into the inner harbor on its regular route between Bath and Boothbay Harbor.
Mackerel were caught by handline from the 1830s until around 1850, when seining began. The large mackerel fleet headed south to the Carolinas or Virginia in the spring, then followed the mackerel up the coast as the season progressed, all the way to Bay Chaleur in summer.