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The Fishing Connection is a proposal to weave together a pictorial and written tapestry about the harsh lives of fishermen and their families over the last two hundred years. It will focus in on those families who have lived and fished from off the coasts of the British Isles and Ireland together with their family related descendants now living on the coast of New England, and the Islands of Maine.
As in many cases, the families of the former gave rise to the latter and the purpose of the Fishing Connection is to put together the lives of some of those families both sides of the Atlantic and show the hardships under which they existed then and now, both on and off the ocean.
The artwork, consisting of some forty oil paintings, will be painted by Jeremy Rugge-Price, an English seascape artist now living in Hudson, New York. The pictures will portray both the present day existence of the fishermen together with that of their forefathers.
The book is to be written by Linda Greenlaw, the author of the best selling book "The Hungry Ocean". Linda, a graduate of Colby University, lives on Ile au Haut, Maine, and was the last swordfish boat Captain to talk to the Andrea Gail before it perished in the Perfect Storm.
As a Mainer born and bred, she is well versed in the world of fishing, and admits to being happier on her own lobster boat than writing a book.
The families of the fisherfolk from both sides of the Atlantic have much in common beyond their arduous and, on many occasions, dangerous lifestyles.
Many of the forbears of the Maine lobstermen came from Cornwall over a hundred and fifty years ago, and even today the Cornish accent can be heard on some of the many islands situated off the coast of Maine.
Shortly after landing in Plymouth, some of the Pilgrim Fathers walked north up the beach to see if they could discover something to eat for their party. Some few miles away they came upon a group of English cod fishermen camped near the beach. Cod from the outer Banks was the Pilgrims' first meal.
The flow of people to and from was not just restricted to fishermen either, most of the Labradors from the New World came into the Old World through the small fishing harbor of Poole in Devon.
They were used on the cod boats for various reasons. The Banks were notorious for fogs rolling in without warning, which resulted in the small fishing dories being cut off from the mother vessel. From the maindeck of the schooner the Labradors were able, by scent, to locate these dories and so ensure that they were recovered with there precious cargo of cod.
Many of the Scottish and Irish fishermen now in Nova Scotia come from families steeped in the traditions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and the rocky shores of Ireland that jut westward into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has sent a signal to all coxwains to help in the research for possible families to be included in the project.
Contact Jeremy Rugge Price by email.
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