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AFS Review: Notes

Working Waterfront Resources of Interest to Folklorists

Wednesday, November 25, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shannon K. Larson
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The National Working Waterfront Network – an organization aimed at preserving working waterfronts and waterways – features ten case studies on their website that demonstrate successful strategies for working waterfront preservation. The case studies, many of which may be of interest to folklorists interested in maritime heritage, are described below:

Coastal Voices is a community-led oral history project capturing the heritage of coastal North Carolina, sharing stories of people whose lives have been shaped by the maritime environment of Hatteras Island, Ocracoke, and Down East. As coastal North Carolina undergoes change, residents want to ensure that their community’s legacy of resiliency and strength is documented for future generations:

"Raising the Story" of Menhaden Fishing: In 2005, Beaufort Fisheries, the last menhaden factory in North Carolina, closed its doors.  Many would think that would be the "end of the story" but not so. With the help of the NC Humanities Council and the hard work of many, the story - like the nets - has been "raised" once more:

The WGCU TV documentary Pink Gold Rush (2014) in cooperation with Florida Sea Grant Extension and West Coast Inland Navigation District: Florida shrimpers first netted the nocturnal pink shrimp in 1949, bringing a frenzy of fishermen to Fort Myers Beach. Hundreds of boats once offloaded at the local shrimp docks. Today, fewer than 40 come to port as development, economics, and the environment take their toll. Through seven decades, shrimpers have struggled against adversity:

Oregon’s Working Waterfronts Tour, a project of the Oregon Sea Grant, currently has a print map for the self-guided tour of the Oregon Bay Area (Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston), highlighting some of the diverse waterfront activities and industries. Mark Farley is currently working on an app version of the driving tour, which will accommodate media, including this series of videos--all available on You-Tube--of various Oregon commercial fishing activities:

NOAA Voices from the Fisheries Database is a central repository for consolidating, archiving, and disseminating oral history interviews related to commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing in the United States and its territories. Oral history interviews are a powerful way to document the human experience with our marine, coastal, and Great Lakes environments and our living marine resources. Each story archived here provides a unique example of this connection collected from fishermen, their spouses, processing workers, shoreside business workers and operators, recreational and subsistence fishermen, scientists, marine resources managers, and others --all among NOAA's fishery stakeholders.

Separately, each history provides an in depth view into the professional and personal lives of individual participants. Together, they have the power to illuminate common themes, issues and concerns across diverse fishing communities over time. The Voices from the Fisheries Database is a powerful resource available to the public to inform, educate, and provide primary information for researchers interested in our local, human experience with the surrounding marine environment:

Preserving the Working Waterfront: Stories From The Nation's Coasts: An oral history project, "Preserving the Working Waterfront: Stories from the Nation’s Coasts,” captures 10 oral histories that document a community-based tool for working waterfront preservation, such as acquisition, zoning, or historic preservation. OCM, Maine Sea Grant, and the National Sea Grant Law Center hosted the project’s debut at the National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium in Tampa, Florida, on November 17. The oral history collection, developed by the White House initiative Preserve America, is a component of NOAA’s Voices from the Fisheries and is linked to the multi-partner Sustainable Working Waterfronts Toolkit. The multi-media collection provides "peer to peer” case studies from across the nation, which highlight how and why communities are protecting their working waterfronts. Oral histories include transferable tools that other communities may find useful as they consider options for their own working waterfront preservation efforts:

Downeast Fisheries Trail (Maine) is an educational trail that showcases active and historic fisheries heritage sites, such as fish hatcheries, aquaculture facilities, fishing harbors, clam flats, processing plants and other related public places in an effort to educate residents and visitors about the importance of the region’s maritime heritage and the role of marine resources to the area’s economy: 

Coastal Conversations is a public affairs program that explores current issues facing Maine’s coastal communities through conversations with people who live, work, and play on our coast. From fisheries to tourism, from energy to environment, from economy to ecology, Coastal Conversations goes beyond the social media sound bites, probing deeply into complex issues facing our coast and the creative solutions Maine people are using to solve them:

2015 Sample Program topics:

February 27, 2015: Green Crabs: Invasion, Impact, and Opportunities

April 24, 2015: Maine Fishermen’s Forum, A 40 Year Retrospective

May 22, 2015: The Spring Running, Fish Migration in Penobscot River and Bay

July 24, 2015: History, Culture, and Heritage of the Lobster Industry in Maine

November 27, 2015: Maine Scallops, What Makes Them So Great?

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