The Voices from the Fisheries Database is a central repository for consolidating, archiving, and disseminating oral history interviews related to commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing in the United States and its territories. Oral history interviews are a powerful way to document the human experience with our marine, coastal, and Great Lakes environments and our living marine resources. Each story archived here provides a unique example of this connection collected from fishermen, their spouses, processing workers, shoreside business workers and operators, recreational and subsistence fishermen, scientists, marine resources managers, and others - all among NOAA's fishery stakeholders.
In 2007, author and former Town of Orleans shellfish biologist Sandy MacFarlane wanted to know more about how people involved in shellfishing on Cape Cod felt about their chosen line of work. With support from the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Marine Program she sought out and conducted interviews with 15 people involved in different aspects of shellfishing. She asked the question, “What does shellfishing mean to you?” and received a diverse set of answers from shellfish aquaculture business owners, people employed by towns to manage and regulate shellfish, and people who harvest wild shellfish commercially and recreationally. From that starting point, her questions centered on how the individual got into shellfishing and then what they thought the future of might hold for the industry.
In 2013, Sea Grant staff worked with Sandy and the interview participants to secure permissions to add the transcripts to Voices from the Fisheries. The collection of transcripts and photographs can now be viewed by the public here by searching for the title “Cape Cod Shellfish Industry Interviews."
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