Photo: Coigach Heritage

Fishing and the Sea

The sea has always been an integral part of local life both as a food source and as the only highway for many hundreds of years. A regular steamer service was still operating well into the 20th century calling at Badentarbet pier carrying passengers and freight up and down the west coast. Seaweed was harvested from the shore and was an important source of fertilizer for the land.

Herring in particular was fished for domestic requirements and then commercially from the late 18th century when a curing station was set up at Tanera by Roderick Morrison. The stocks eventually collapsed from over fishing by large vessels.

Salmon fishing was an important industry in the summer and the catch was originally boiled to increase the shelf life. An ice house was later built at Badentarbat and the catch transported fresh to Garve and thence by train to Billingsgate. Ice was collected from the small man made loch at Badentarbat during the winter. The bag nets used to catch the fish in the mid 20th century were the largest fixed nets operating in the UK.

Local boats set lines for Cod, Haddock and flat fish and creels for lobsters which by the early 1900s were also being sent by train to London. Bait for fishing was caught or collected locally and creels made from available materials.

The first prawns (langoustine) were caught commercially here in the 1960s and are the main catch today being sent to markets as far afield as China.

Fishing and the Sea
People Community and Culture
Crofting and the Land
Early History
Coigach Heritage Group

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