The place of the Labrador fishery in the folklife of a Newfoundland community

Rutherford, Clara Joan (2009) The place of the Labrador fishery in the folklife of a Newfoundland community. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study takes a life history approach to a community study which analyzes the effect of the Labrador fishery on an area comprising several settlements - Colliers, Conception Harbour, Avondale, and Brigus - but focusing on Colliers. The Labrador stationary fishery developed among Newfoundland fisherpeople, principally from Conception Bay, during the nineteenth century. The fishery faltered in the 1940s, revived in the 1960s, and continued into the time of my study with greatly reduced numbers and with structural changes. While this study centers on the traditional fishery, it also deals with the post-1960 fishery and with Newfoundlander and Labradorian relationships past and present. -- The bulk of the data used in this work was collected in three main ways: fieldwork, archival survey, and library research. The fieldwork consists of two parts: (1) two field trips to Labrador and (2) fieldwork in the community of Colliers and surrounding areas. The trip to Labrador by coastal boat was undertaken during the month of July 1984. A follow-up visit was made April-May 1986. The experience of taking the coastal boat as a participant observer helped to place the experiences of informants into geographical and cultural context. The tangible results of the trip include two hundred photographs, an inventory of Newfoundland fishermen who were fishing on the Labrador and their fishing stations, six lengthy interviews, and dozens of shorter interviews. A preliminary list has also been compiled of people from Colliers and the surrounding areas who went on the Labrador between 1857 and 1948. -- I searched the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) for student collections which deal with the Labrador fishery from the point of view of "floaters" and "stationers." Respectively, floaters and stationers were fishermen from Newfoundland who prosecuted the fishery either by schooners or from rooms (fishing premises) on the Labrador. To supplement the interviews done in Labrador, I also searched the Them Days Archives and its publication, Them Days Magazine, a regional oral history magazine, for the point of view of Labradorians on the Newfoundland fishermen. -- The archival research revealed five areas of descriptions of trips to the Labrador: (1) "going in collar" (preparing for the trip), (2) "on the passage" (the trip down), (3) work on the Labrador, (4) sociability on the Labrador, and (5) the return to Newfoundland. The narratives presented in the final section of this thesis concern the effect of the annual summer migration on the home community in Newfoundland.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8993
Item ID: 8993
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 178-188)
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 2009
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Avalon Peninsula--Colliers Region; Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Fisheries--Social aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador; Fisheries--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador--History; Folklore--Newfoundland and Labrador--Colliers; Labrador

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