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The Herring Catch

Herring fishing, Mt. Desert, ca. 1940
Herring fishing, Mt. Desert, ca. 1940

Item Contributed by
Northeast Historic Film

Film from Northeast Historic Film

Herring has long been important in Maine -- as a food source because it was relatively easily preserved by salting or drying -- and as a bait source.

Lubec, in Washington County along the border with Canada, once produced more smoked herring than anywhere else in the country.

Herring is often caught in weirs, which are located near the shore. They have a fence-like structure with a large net or basket in the middle to catch the fish.

The fish are removed with seines and into a boat for removal to the processing plant.

Sardines are small herring and canned sardines were once an important part of the Maine economy, providing jobs for fishermen, workers in the canning and smoking plants, and related equipment and shipping concerns.

The smoked herring and canned sardine industries have all but disappeared from Maine.