Sunday, March 17, 2013

The catch

The salt-cod fishery was a mainstay of Newfoundland and Labrador’s economy throughout the nineteenth century. It consisted of three branches: an inshore fishery off the island’s coast, a Labrador fishery, and an offshore bank fishery. Of these, the inshore fishery was both the oldest and largest, with roots in an English migratory fishery dating back to the 1500s.

Until 1992, when the moratorium was announced.   The fishery is now a ghost of its former past.

And this is part of its past.   An old photo from the archives of a young fisherman selling his catch on the wharf at St. John's harbour in the early 1900s caught my attention as I browsed the archives.  The stance. the features, hand in pocket of overalls to keep warm, told the story of a life that comes with harvesting from the sea.  I needed to capture that in a quick oil sketch.

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