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Discover Fishing and Whaling

Maritime Museum - Fishing and Whaling

Until the late 19th century, there were many small fishing villages on the East Coast of Scotland. These, and places like Footdee and Torry in Aberdeen, were separated by their lifestyle, customs and dialects. Fishing was a family activity. Men went to sea while women hooked bait onto lines and carried the fish catch to market. In the late 19th century, many villagers acquired larger boats and moved to towns with harbours. Some became crewmen on trawlers. Use the fishing displays and interactive screens to find out about their lives.

Harpoon & Head Used By WhalersAberdeen vessels sailed on whaling expeditions to the Arctic in the 1800s and 1900s. The Greenland Right Whale was hunted for its blubber which was boiled down to produce lamp oil. Whalebone was used in dressmaking. There was lots of money to be made but it was dangerous. Sometimes no whales were caught or ships were crushed by ice and their crews lost. By the 1830s, overfishing had greatly reduced the number of whales. Aberdeen shipping turned to fishing and coastal trading.