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What gets dragged up? Herring have schooled in the bay recently. Seals have followed them in.



Dutch Girl, Lobster Boy, and Miss Callie follow whatever harbor fish in from outside the Narrows themselves. Notice the hourglass dayshape in the rigging above denoting that trawling is underway.



What else might come up in the trawl nets? What deep harbor life or trash? What off-limits areas are there? Any submarine habitats of the Captain Nemo luxury condo sort? Have any exclusive underwater hotels  opened their doors–er… hatches–under the bay, as Peter spotlighted recently in his fantastic Sea Fever blog?



Question for longer-term witnesses that I am:  was there a time when NO fishing happened here in –say–the 50s?  For now, there’s some reassurance to see fishing fleets, fuel barges, and our Lady juxtaposed.

Photos, WVD.


All fotos, Will Van Dorp

FLASH UPDATE: YouTube of USCG video of Orange Sun/dredge collision here. How could this happen??  Nonsequitur:  Don’t ever think anything happening in the harbor goes unseen.

I toyed with putting the term “UFO” in the title, but that would be a red er… herring. UFO expands to “unidentified fishing objective;” as in what could this fleet possibly be netting from the Bay? If I were a fish, that statue with the long arm would spook me.



Here’s a closer-up of the same boat. I can’t quite make out the name.



My guess is bait fishing: mossbunker aka menhaden, or



what some call porgies.



I believe Miss Callie comes out of Belford, or at least once did.

Kurlansky in The Big Oyster cites a 1620 Dutch description of harbor life as including, “bass, cod, weakfish, herring, mackerel . . . whales, porpoises, and seals” (22) Later in the book he describes New York harbor oysters exported around the world.

Joseph Mitchell begins his 1959 essay “The Bottom of the Harbor” with these sentences: “The bulk of the water… is oily, dirty, and germy. Men on the mud suckers, the big harbor dredges, like to say that you could bottle it and sell it for poison.”

Fifty years beyond Mitchell and 30 years beyond the Clean Water Act, I’m happy to see evidence of improved water quality. I might swim here, keeping my head out of the water, but I’m not ready to eat the fish yet.

Photos, WVD.

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August 2022