1858Trawls were introduced for fishing.Economy and Industry, Maritime & Fishing Industry

“Howard Blackburn and Thomas Welch hauling trawls on Buregeo Bank, Newfoundland as the storm came on, January 25, 1883,” W. A. Elwell photo of a Paul Collins painting, 1883. Courtesy of Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Photo 14075
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Fishing methods for groundfish such as cod, haddock, and halibut evolved slowly in Gloucester. Toward the end of the 1850s, a new method that originated in France dramatically increased the size and speed of the catch when long baited lines called trawls were laid across the seafloor. Each trawl featured 500 hooks that were pre-baited while still on board the schooner. The trawls were stored in a bucket and released over the side of the dory to be connected with one or more trawls for coverage of a mile or more. Anchors would hold each end of the trawl on the seafloor while floats would locate each end of the trawl on the surface. Cod landings rose from 12.8 million pounds in 1859 to 36.4 million in 1879 and 44.3 million pounds in 1889.

“Schooners and Fishing Gear.” National Museum of American History, 9 Mar. 2021, https://americanhistory.si.edu/on-the-water/fishing-living/commercial-fishers/atlantic-cod/schooners-fishing-gear Morris, John N. Alone at Sea: Gloucester in the Age of the Dorymen, 1623 - 1939. Commonwealth Editions, 2010.
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