1973.57.2 | Spear

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1900, 20th century
39.69 x 14.38 cm
New Brunswick Museum
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

In the days before adequate refrigeration methods and extensive railroad service, drying, pickling, canning and smoking were the favoured processes. Cod was often dried, boxed and shipped to Spain and Italy, but it could be pickled in salt brine, packed in barrels and sent to the West Indies along with barrels of mackerel and herring. Lobster and salmon were canned for markets in Britain, France or the United States. Later, clams and scallops were canned and shipped to the American market. New Brunswickers were also avid consumers and the processes used for the export market applied equally to provincial urban centres.

Traditionally the common eel was not much fished in New Brunswick waters. Depending on the season, two different types of spears were used. Spear handles were 4.5-5.5 m in length.

  • What

    This iron eel spear was used in the winter months.

  • Where

    This spear was used in the area of Shediac, NB, near Moncton.

  • When

    In summer, fishers along the east coast speared eels near shore from flat-bottomed boats.

  • Who

    In winter, fishers caught eel through holes in the ice in shallow waters.