Fishing communities throughout the world are dependent upon complex economic, technological, and biological factors, as well as the numerous forces of nature that directly affect a fishing community. Fishers have developed culturally constructed coping devices including unspoken ethics, mysticism, traditions, and ritual to provide support and explanations for the uncertainties of life, offering a sense of control and order in an otherwise unpredictable world. The importance of folk knowledge is revealed as the medium consistent across fishing communities, which sustains knowledge of the fishing craft and the associated culturally constructed beliefs. The fishing communities of Teelin, Ireland, the Cree of James Bay in the Canadian subarctic, the Main lobster industry, and the village of Arembepe, Brazil, are reviewed, highlighting their unspoken ethics, mysticism, traditions, and rituals. The cause and effect of each community’s individual folklore is unfolded, disclosing their purpose in providing a sense of control and reason necessary for survival in a fisher’s uncertain world.
Leah Underdahl, ’01 Elk River, MN
Sponsor: Randy Ziegenhorn and Alfrieta Monagan