The Rise and Fall of the British Trawl Fishery
Robb Robinson is Curriculum and Staff Development Officer at Hull College. He has published widely on the subject of the fishing industry, and comes from a family heavily involved with maritime commerce.
The pre-trawling era The pioneers Railways and markets Opening up the North Sea Free trade and indentured labour Fisherman and fleeting The coming of the steam trawler Beyond the North Sea Steam and storm The Great War Distant-water dominance Inter-war life and labour World War II The cost of trawling Freezers and factory fleets Cod wars and common fisheries policies - the beginning of the end
Of all the most important industries and occupations, historians have paid least attention to fishing. Robb Robinson's book is likely to change this. It is an excellent pioneering study and opens up a vast field of new research opportunities.
Mariner's Mirror, vol. 83
Robinson's treatment is sufficiently academic to satisfy the specialist but also an absorbing read for the layman.
The Maritime Yearbook
This is not the final statement on the history of trawling but it is the most valuable contribution to the literature so far. It should be read by everyone who claims a say in fisheries policy matters and also as a case study of the rise and fall of a major industry under the special infliences of a common-property resource, governmental management and international law.
The Northern Mariner
Robb Robinson ... has made an important contribution to a field that is only going to grow in importance ... Trawling makes a particularly strong mark simply in the way it conveys to the reader the everyday working lives of British trawl fishermen. We also gain valuable insight into the maritime trades that supported trawling. The objective, yet humanly transcendent, tone with which Robinson evokes the rigours and danger of trawling in ever more distant waters has seldom been matched by maritime historians dealing with this labour issue. There is a level of ethnographic authority in Robinson's narrative (possibly due to his family's longtime involvement in the industry) that soundly situates the reader in the trawlerman's distinct culture, from the benefits that accrued to being affiliated with a successful skipper to the struggles to achieve unionization among commercial fishing's rank-and-file... One can feel the rhythms of the fisherman's community in Robinson's commentary - time spent not only at sea, but in the home, in the pub, and on the docks. Indeed, Trawling is one of the few treatments of this maritime industry that acknowledges the significant role women played in a setting where men were frequently gone. Trawling further contributes to fisheries history by discussing the unique role trawlermen played as small-boat handlers in the Trawler Section of Royal Naval Reserve during World War I; the Royal Naval Patrol Section during World War II; and as ever-present lifesavers during peacetime. As can be inferred from Robinson's title, trawling's symbolism and tangible effect will resonate economically and environmentally for years to come. To this end, Trawling is commendable for its methodological, interpretive, and substantive contributions to the international community of maritime historians.
International Journal of Maritime History
Size: 229 x 148 mm
Publication: September 1, 1998
Series: Exeter Maritime Studies