Fact of the week: Fishing

Fishing was a major seasonal activity of the ports of Ceredigion.
Herring gathered in shoals of the coast from September to January. At this time of year, coastal traders and deep sea mariners returned to their native villages to join the herring fishing.
They used 23-25 ft (7 – 7.6 m) boats with three masts, possibly introduced by Borth fishermen at the middle of the 19th century. The central mast was removed when herring fishing.
The boats went out with the incoming tide. When the nets were cast, the boats were allowed to drift until dawn while the men and boys slept in Y Soch (forepart) The boats were unloaded on the beaches, and the fish were counted. Catches of 4,000 – 5,000 herring could be caught in these drift nets.
Herring fishing was rather dependent on nature. There were times when the quantity was reduced, but there is no evidence that this was due to over fishing. At the middle of the 18th century, herring was plentiful, but towards the end of the century they were less common and died out almost completely by the 1920s-30s except at Milford.
Herrings were preserved or cured by salting and drying them (bloated herrings) or smoking them in wood smoke (red herrings).


Gyda diolch i Amgueddfa Ceredigion am y wybodaeth / With thanks to Ceredigion Museum for the information

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