1822Mackerel fishing expanded on Georges Bank.Economy and Industry, Maritime & Fishing Industry


Gordon, Thomas, Brayton, Linda, Masters, David. Toward an oral history of Cape Ann: Thomas, Gordon. 1978. Sawyer Free Library, https://digitalheritage.noblenet.org/s/gloucester/item/4995

Prior to 1820, mackerel were primarily used for bait, when Gloucester’s catch rarely exceeded 100,000 pounds or 500 barrels. With the introduction of salt mackerel, this fishery quickly expanded up and down the East Coast. In 1822, the Gloucester fleet found large schools of mackerel on Georges Bank, to the east and south of Cape Cod. This summer fishery landed 1.3 million pounds in 1821 and 6.8 million pounds in 1828. By the 1860s, the annual Gloucester catch was more than 30 million pounds. But mackerel could also prove elusive, with dramatic shifts in fish landings from year to year. For example, the enormous schools that predictably migrated each spring from off the Carolinas would nearly disappear in the 1830s, only to suddenly reappear by the early 1840s. Gloucester fishermen pursued mackerel up and down the Eastern seaboard and as far north as the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Morris, John N. Alone at Sea: Gloucester in the Age of the Dorymen, 1623 - 1939. Beverly, Mass: Commonwealth Editions, 2010.
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