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Fishing off Monhegan 1880s-1980s

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Chart of fishing grounds around Monhegan, 1887

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Chart of fishing grounds around Monhegan, 1887 / Monhegan Museum

Located in one of the prime fishing areas of the world, Monhegan has long been known for its fishing. Over four thousand years ago, before the completion of the Great Pyramid at Giza, Native Americans used the island as an offshore base to hunt large swordfish from dugout canoes.

Fishing parties from Europe discovered Monhegan and the Maine coastal area many years before the arrival of the Pilgrims and harvested the cod fish that abounded in these waters. These early Monhegan fishermen are said to have supplied much needed provisions for the struggling Plymouth colonists in the 1620s.

In the early 1800s several Monhegan vessels were fishing on the Grand Banks. With the decline of the Banks fishery at mid-century many Monhegan residents began dragging or purse-seining for mackerel. By the late1800s lobster fishing became an industry on Monhegan and was soon the dominant fishery on the island as it remains today.

A chart of the fishing grounds around Monhegan Island that shows various depths and danger spots. Cut from: The fisheries and fishery industries of the United States, Volumes 3-4 by George Brown Goode, United States. Bureau of Fisheries


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