The Orkney Herring Industry

The Orkney Herring Industry

During the late 19th century the herring fishing industry on the Orkney Islands  became large-scale. During the six weeks of summer between 300 and 400 boats descended upon Stromness Harbour.The population would rise by 4-5000 people.

Women and girls who followed the herring shoals around the British coast worked at the many curing stations on the stone piers along the harbour.They gutted and packed the fish for export to Germany and Russia.It is said they could gut up to sixty herring per minute.

By 1908 as the herring shoals moved away,the industry declined.

 ‘The Yole Boats’ 
20 x 60cm
mixed media on canvas


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