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Fisheries and Fishing

i Apr 9th No Comments by

The subject of Fishing and Fisheries is depicted in middle to late 20th century literature at a time when governmental regulation of maritime borders was the means of controlling international fishing of coastal waters. Interest by the public in historical fishing, whaling, fishing techniques of other countries, the lives of fishermen, fishing vessels and equipment is notable beginning in the 1930s, with most technical works and conference proceedings published between the 1960s and 1980s. Books from the Library’s collections on Fishing and Fisheries are only partially represented here. If you do not see what you are looking for, please call the Library for more information at 310-548-7618 x 215.

Reference Works for Fisheries and Fishing

Industrial Fishery technology : a survey of methods for domestic harvesting, preservation, and processing of fish used for food and for industrial products. / by Maurice Stanby, 1963.

Cover of Industrial Fishery Technology by Maurice E. Stansby

Industrial Fishery Technology by Maurice E. Stansby, in collaboration with Dayton Lee Alverson …

Industrial Fishery Technology introduces industrial fisheries and their products: tuna, salmon, herring, menhaden, and shellfish (shrimp, oyster, clam, scallop and abalone, crab and lobster). The books was published was 1976, and includes a brief discussion of world fisheries and production. At that time, Peru ranked highest of all nations in domestic production (see table, page 27). Among states in the U. S., Alaska, California, Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia produced the highest volumes of fishery products and consequently the highest values, with California at number one in 1971 for tuna. In early 2000, California was still in the number one slot, but the fishery had changed from tuna to much smaller fish. Historical comparisons can be made against today’s statistics on the Internet.

Fish catching methods of the world. / Andres Von Brand, 1978.

Cover of Fish Catching Methods of the World by A Von Brandt

Fish Catching Methods of the World by A Von Brandt

Fish catching methods of the world is a “… thesaurus of fishing gear and catching methods”, as described in the Preface. The book is a review of known fishing catching methods used world-wide in smaller villages and coast-side towns where methods besides trawling and purse seining brought home the fish catch. The thirty chapters are illustrated with photographic images of fishermen, boats and equipment at some point in the process of preparing to catch or catching fish, or preparing equipment. Other images show the variety of equipment used in each geographic area.


Fishing Boats of the World. / Jan Olof Traung.

Cover of Fishing Boats of the World by Jan Olof Traung.

Fishing Boats of the World by Jan Olof Traung.

Fishing Boats of the World features the Design, Engines, Propellers, Deck Gear, Factory Ships, Safety of fishing boats and provides a reference for the design and equipment on a fishing boat in short distance fishing boats to bottom-fishers, tuna clippers and trawlers. Included are fishing boats operated by one or two fishermen; boats with sails, different kinds of motors, vessel engineering, their equipment and operation and a discussion of factory ships. The book’s 650 pages are illustrated with 600 photographs. Besides a very detailed Table of Contents, the book includes references and an index.


American fishing schooners 1825-1935. / by Howard I. Chapelle, 1973.

Cover of The American Fishing Schooners by Howard I. Chapelle

The American Fishing Schooners by Howard I. Chapelle

American fishing schooners 1825-1935 offers a historical review and technical description of fishing schooners from 1825 to 1935. The chapters are organized chronologically and provide line illustrations of the plan and profiles views of the ships, as well as sheer plans, perspective views, rigging details and drawings of cast iron fittings. The book, and others produced by the author, are authorities on the subject of vessel design, and especially helpful to model builders.


Fishing and Fisheries on the West Coast

Fishing Barges of California 1921-1998. / by Ed Ries, 2000.

Cover of Fishing Barges of California 1921-1998 by Ed Ries.

Fishing Barges of California 1921-1998 by Ed Ries.

Fishing Barges of California is the story of sportfishing by the public in California for about two decades beginning in 1921. For the cost of the “scrap value of the ships”, sailing ships no longer needed were sold and converted to fishing barges. They had formerly been schooners, barkentines and scows. In the beginning, fishing for the big and game fish could be had, along with restaurant food, bathrooms, and fresh water for comfort for 50c a day. Ries chronicles the people aspiring to catch the big one as well as the captains who became businessmen. Biographies of well-known sailing and steam barges are included, as well as a bibliography and index. Most of the story takes place between 1921 and 1939, the momentum of sportfishing from barges didn’t really slow to a stop until 1998.

Hunters, Seamen and Entrepreneurs the Tuna Seinermen of San Diego./ by Michael Orbach, 1977.

Cover of Hunters, Seamen, and Entrepreneurs by Michael K. Orbach.

Hunters, Seamen, and Entrepreneurs by Michael K. Orbach.

Hunters, Seamen and Entrepreneurs is a book describing the technique and technical aspects of fishing for tuna through the experiences of the Portuguese and Italian fishermen in an area termed as the Eastern Tropical Pacific off the shores of San Diego, California between 1973-1975. The author was at the time a graduate student of anthropology who used his beginner’s experience as a sailor to help land a job on a tuna seiner and to learn first-hand of the processes involved in going to sea, preparing to catch and capturing the tuna fish, and bringing the catch back to port to sell and process.


Tales of the Golden Years of California Ocean Fishing 1900-1950. / by Ed Ries, 1995.

Cover of Tales of the Golden Years of California Ocean Fishing, 1900-1950 by Ed Ries.

Tales of the Golden Years of California Ocean Fishing, 1900-1950 by Ed Ries.

The author’s abundance of knowledge about sportfishing is organized by theme and laid out in thirteen chapters. Illustrations as photographs or line drawings provide a view into the aspects of sportfishing, such as prized fishes, fish for the market and canning industries, tackle and equipment, and personalities in sportfishing as a challenge.



The Portuguese Shore Whalers of California, 1854 – 1904. / by David E. Bertao, 2006.

Cover of The Portuguese Shore Whalers of California, 1854-1904 by David E. Bertao.

The Portuguese Shore Whalers of California, 1854-1904 by David E. Bertao.

The Portuguese Shore Whalers of California is a well-illustrated history of shore whalers, including coverage of sea-side counties from northern to southern California. The third section of the book is a biographical listing of shore whalers; 262 of Portuguese descent and 64 of non- Portuguese descent. Section one and two cover the business of shore whaling and the counties, and are illustrated with maps and photographs of cities or ships, captains, and whales. A bibliography and index are included which make the book a good source for quick reference on whalers and Portuguese settlers in California beginning around the time of the Gold Rush.

Men and Whales. / by Richard Ellis, 1991.

Cover of Men and Whales by Richard Ellis.

Men and Whales by Richard Ellis.

Men and Whales is a history of world-wide whaling beginning with the Basque peoples of France and Spain, about 900 C.E. and continuing through most of the twentieth century and the end of whaling enforced by governmental controls and environmental groups against the killing of the large mammals. In between is the story of how whaling supplied countries with oil, bone, and by-products of oil and blubber, a kind of whale fat sometimes used in cooking, but more often representing the bulk of fat harvested from a dead whale to supplement the amber-colored whale oil that was most prized for its purity. The connection for almost 1000 years of the great mammals of the sea with those on land quickly became a tale of human bravery against the size and might of the whale, animals which are now close to extinction due to human exploitation and greed. The author examines every aspect of whaling, from the methods of catching and beaching whales to the utilization of the animal’s carcass for items made of oil and wax such as candles and soaps, medicines, food delicacies, and bone fittings for undergarments and scrimshaw as souvenirs. A marine artist, the author has included some of his paintings of whales alongside photographs or posters from the history of whaling in recent times.

Deep Diving

i Feb 28th No Comments by

Deep diving is a form of professional or commercial diving. It requires the use of a breathing apparatus or surface supplied air in order to descend and ascend a depth of 200 feet or more below the water surface.


20,000 Divers Under the Sea : a History of the Mediterranean and Western Atlantic Sponge Trades with an Account of Early Deep Diving. / by Torrance R. Parker. Published by Sub-Sea Archives, 2013.

The Library’s collections cover the history of deep diving and some of its technical aspects. The recently-published book on sponge diving was added to our collections.

Other histories of diving focus on deep diving, ocean engineering, underwater exploration, diving in the navy, and offshore oil well drilling. Our collection contains a variety of resources such as books by well-known authors and practitioners Torrance Parker, Jacques Cousteau, and translations from French authors, symposium proceedings, and technical manuals. The Library also holds a complete series of The Journal of Diving History. Please call the Library for more information at 310-548-7618.

Deep Diving History: See our online catalog for books on the subject of deep diving.

Library Collections on the Merchant Marine

i Jan 23rd No Comments by
Cover of Merchant Vessels of the United States 1887

Merchant Vessels of the United States 1887

List of Merchant Vessels of the United States (title is from the cover), was published at various times by the United States Treasury Department, the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of Navigation, and the United States Department of Transportation and the United States Coast Guard. The Library has volumes published 1884, 1886-1887; 1891-1989 (with some years missing).

The List of Merchant Vessels of the United States, updated each year, is a ship’s register with offical numbers and scantlings (measurements of the structural parts) for ships. This means a researcher can consult this reference for a ship’s length and breadth, tonnage, crew size, type of ship, propulsion, date and location of construction and home port, and owner’s name. Prior to consulting the reference, all that is needed is a date and ship’s name. Of the appendices, “Former Names Showing Present Names” and “Vessels Lost” help to historically define a particular ship or it’s demise. The series is in constant use for reference. Contact us for a request by filing in the form on this page.

Merchant Marine is a term defined in the Random House Dictionary of the English Language as “…1. the vessels of a nation that are engaged in commerce…”, and “… 2. the officers and crews of such vessels…”. The concept of merchant ships in the service of the military developed during and after the Civil War, yet the American history of merchant shipping dates back to the early 1600s (see John Spears, The Story of the American Merchant Marine.).

Ocean-going commerce expanded up until the 1850s, due to the highly-valued craftsmanship of wooden ships (see Benjamin Labaree, America and the Sea: A Maritime History.), which later could not compete with new technologies of steam and industrial shipbuilding enjoyed by other maritime nations. The 20th century witnessed the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 and the later recognition of the United States Merchant Marine veterans by President Reagan in 1988 for service in World War II.

The Library collection includes: Bibliographies and Periodicals, Histories, Labor Law, Navigation, Seamanship, Ship Registers and Yearbooks, and Shipbuilding Histories. hosts our Library collection online which includes material on topics such as merchant ships and merchant seamen and crews: ship registers, histories and periodicals. The Merchant Marine in the World Wars is also represented.

Maritime History in Art

i Jan 22nd No Comments by
Souvenir Postcard Los Angeles Harbor.

Postcard from Souvenir Folder of Los Angeles Harbor, San Pedro and Wilmington. Published by A. Kashower Co., Los Angeles, Calif.

Art from postcard issued circa 1912, is labelled “California Yacht Club and Harbor, Wilmington, Calif.”

The term Marine Art, alternatively ships in art, refers to paintings, prints and objects created well before the photographic image captured maritime history. Marine art is represented in both the Library’s and the Museum’s Collections of artists who depicted ships, sailors, masters, crew, and objects of maritime significance primarily of the Victorian Era through the 20th century (1830s to 1999).

For a definition of the history of portraying the sea and ships in pictures, see Peter Kemp, in the Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, 1976, page 521, who recounts: “… the earliest known pictures of ships and boats are those which decorate Egyptian pottery… around 3200 B.C.”, and further, that “… representations of the sea and ships appear in many paintings of the early Renaissance…” and, further, that “… the true birth of marine painting… occurred in Holland in the late 16th century.”.

Later in his entry on Marine painting, on page 524, Kemp discloses, “… world wars of the 20th century produced a plethora of marine artists… a result of naval appointments of painters as official artists to record scenes of naval activity.” A sample of this interest in illustrating the Navy in action can be found in the Museum’s Current Exhibit.

Locating illustrations of maritime history

Paintings of ships and maritime views may be found in many works that are not about art, but have used paintings as illustrations of a historical text.

Searching for artists or painters by name is facilitated by dictionaries or encyclopedias. Two such works available at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum research Library are selected here:

Book cover for Marine Paintings and Drawings in the Peabody Museum

The Marine Paintings and Drawings in the Peabody Museum by M.V. and Dorothy Brewington.

The Marine Paintings and Drawings in the Peabody Museum by M.V. and Dorothy Brewington. Published by The Peabody Museum of Salem, 1981. 535 pages, index, illustrations, color and black and white.

The Marine Painting and Drawings in the Peabody Museum is a catalog of visual images of the nineteenth century, especially of the merchant marine vessels of any type; not Navy vessels, but ships used in trade and transport of goods across oceans and on inland waterways. To find an artist or ship, look alphabetically for an artist’s name, or look by port name or vessel name by consulting the Index. The text is rich with information; this is not a book to read but to glean information and data from.

Image of painting by Antonio Jacobsen.

“The Forteviot”, 1896, by Antonio Jacobsen.

Paintings you will find in this book are exemplified by this image, found on Wikipedia, of the Forteviot. The ship is shown in rough seas, with full sun illuminating the sails and careful delineation of the rigging, sails, hull, flags, and other details, a hallmark of the artist, Antonio Nicolo Gasparo, 1850-1921. His style, from the late 1880s to 1920, was extremely popular and is stylistically indicative of the era of sail and early days of steam.


Cover of Dictionary

Dictionary of Sea Painters by E. H. H. Archibald

Dictionary of Sea Painters by E.H.H. Archibald. Published by The Antique Collector’s Club, Ltd., 1989. 575 pages, index, illustrations.

Dictionary of Sea Painters is a resource with an international focus, that identifies artists and their works beginning with Dutch painters of the 1600s and, including painters from all countries, extending through the middle of the twentieth century. The preliminary chapter consists of “Sea Paintings–Identification and Dating” which outlines and illustrates the aspects of marine illustration: flags(shown in full color), ship profiles, picture content, and coastal craft (dated). The dictionary of names follows and finally a chapter of plates, consisting of 932 black and white paintings. Over 30 color plates are interspersed throughout the text.

The Los Angeles Maritime Museum’s collections of paintings and other works of art may be consulted separately: please call the Museum for more information at 310-548-7618.

The Library’s collection on maritime history in art is represented at If you do not see what you are looking for please call the Library for more information at 310-548-7618 x 215.