The survival struggle of commercial fishing – livelihood crisis and community support.
This study focuses on the struggle for survival of Finnish commercial fishing after the Second World War. In an era of post-war rebuilding, industrial wage work often offered a more secure income in comparison to primary production. The number of fishers declined rapidly and traditional coastal fishing methods and operations models were reassessed and renewed in many ways. Here this change is scrutinized by studying the choices and decision-making of fishers and the importance of local community in the Northern Satakunta region.
The coast of the Northern Satakunta region was one of the country’s most important fishing centres during the first decades of the 20th century. Commercial fishing, based on harvesting of Baltic herring, faced a crisis with the collapse of autumn spawning herring stocks in the 1940s. Additionally, the shortage of material for fishing gear brought on by the war markedly decreased fishing opportunities. Industrial workers’ wages grew faster than those of other population groups, the sawmill industry in particular enticing fishers to change their occupation and become wage workers. Traditionally close social and political relations between fishers and workers eased adaptation in this respect.
New fishing methods were adopted in the wake of the crisis, although fishers were generally sceptical about trap net fishing, which required higher investment. On the other hand, stationary long line fishing for salmon, enabling the sharing of economic risks through fishing co-operation, was widely appreciated among the fisher community. Although open sea fishing for salmon was largely dependent of the forces of nature, fishers were reluctant to make additional investments which might have created longer fishing periods and wider areas. Also, capital-intensive trawling for Baltic herring failed to draw the Northern Satakunta fishers, who considered the striving for economic profi t as morally dubious. The primary source of this reluctanceto take economic risks lay in the worker identity and strong ties to the local community of the region’s fishers.
Ammattikalastuksen selviämiskamppailu - Elinkeinon kriisi ja yhteisön tuki
Juhani Salmi ja Pekka Salmi
Riista- ja kalatalous.
Selvityksiä, nro 23, 2010
ISBN 978-951-776-805-4 (pdf)
ISBN 978-951-776-804-7 (printed)
ISSN 1796-8895 (pdf)
ISSN 1796-8887 (printed)
Keywords: commercial fishing, local community, stationary long line fishing, trap net fishing, worker identity
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