Scottish Fishing Boats
By Matthew Tanner
(Shire, Paperback, 9780747803171, 32pp.)
Publication Date: November 17, 2009
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This book introduces the history of the Scottish fishing vessel and chronicles the developments that have created fishing machines which are not only highly effective tools but a delight to the eyes as well. Fishing has an unglamorous reputation, yet the story of the fishing boat is one of continual innovation and experiment in design and technology. A number of vernacular boat types have appeared, each one admirably adapted to its peculiar environment and its particular tasks. By 1900 the fishing boat had been developed into the famous very large and very fast luggers known as fifies and zulus, but at the time steam power and very then motor power were swiftly being taken on board. The variations in fishing fortune since the Second World War have seen the advent of the multi-purpose all-weather fishing vessel fully equiped with the latest in electronic safety, navigation and fish-finding gear. Now from his wheelhouse armchair the skipper of a modern purse-seiner can effectively outfish the combined efforts of five hundred boats of 1840 and still spend only one quarter of the time at sea.
Matthew Tanner was born in the fishing port of North Shields in north-east England and brought up in Kent, where from an early age he became fascinated by maritime history. He moved to Scotland in 1985 in order to read Classics at the University of St Andrews and stayed on to take a postgraduate diploma in Maritime Studies. In 1990 he won a British Academy bursary to pursue further research in maritime history and order to help the museum prepare for registration as a National Museum, and he became Curator in 1992. In late 1993 he was appointed Curator of Maritime Technology for National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside (Merseyside Maritime Museum). He is a keen amateur sailor and sub-aqua diver.