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Working the Tides

A Portrait of Canada's West Coast Fishery

edited by Peter A. Robson & Michael Skog
photographs by Roxanne Gregory

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fisheries & aquaculture, natural resources
list price: $34.95
category: History
published: 1996

Commercial fishing boats like the Bluenose on the Canadian dime and the west coast seine boat portrayed for so many years on the five-dollar bill have long ranked up there with grain elevators as key images by which Canadians know themselves, but even those familiar with British Columbia's high-profile salmon fishery probably know little about hake trawling, the sea urchin dive fishery or the geoduck business.

Here is the story of the man who ran away from school at age fifteen to handline coho out of a dugout canoe; the seiner who made his living outsmarting the wiliest of all salmon, the Nimpkish dogs; the crew that knows how to get the best from a fifteen-minute herring opening; the sea urchin diver who got stranded in the middle of a cold, rough sea when his boat drifted off; and the woman who survived a seeming lifetime trapped inside an overturned seine boat.

Working the Tides covers the waterfront, presenting gripping insider views not just of the familiar salmon trollers and seiners, but of the men, women and boats that harvest cod, herring, halibut, octopus, and rockfish - eighty different species in all. Almost all the material in Working the Tides is drawn from the archives of BC's leading commercial fishing magazine, the Westcoast Fisherman, which in 1996 celebrated 10 years of publishing. Like the fishing life itself, this collection ranges from scary to funny to poignant to quietly insightful - with big hauls and "skunked" sets, beautiful secluded fishing spots, hair-raising storms and near misses, goofy sea-going pranks, and even a spine-tingling wheel-watch ghost or two. There is never a dull moment.

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About the Authors

Peter A. Robson

Peter A. Robson has authored hundreds of articles and has served as editor for several magazines, including Pacific Yachting, Cottage and Cottage Life West. He has also authored or co-authored books about commercial fishing, forestry, towboating and salmon farming. He is a regular at Harbour Publishing's Friday martini hour and lives in Garden Bay, BC.

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Michael Skog

Michael Skog is the third generation of his family to work in the west coast salmon seine fishery. Since attending the University of British Columbia he has split his time between writing and fishing. He is a contributor to National Fisherman and former editor of the Westcoast Fisherman.
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Roxanne Gregory

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