1987.17.680.2 | Harbour and Shore at Caraquet, New Brunswick

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Harbour and Shore at Caraquet, New Brunswick
Joseph Courtois
About 1900, 19th century or 20th century
Silver print
13 x 17.7 cm
William Francis Ganong Collection
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

In post-Confederation New Brunswick, the Acadian economy underwent a transformation. As farming declined due to land shortages and industrialization, Acadians turned to the expanding lumbering and fishing industries. By the turn of the 20th century, farming was no longer of primary importance to Acadians, despite its romantic appeal and efforts by government and the Church to encourage a return to the land.

The Acadian fishery built upon the traditions of the past when farmers had fished to supplement their meat and potatoes diet. In the late 19th century, Acadians began to devote more time to the fishery, particularly to cod and lobster, as new technology improved yields and preservation techniques. In addition, the introduction of railway service had opened up new markets in the United States and central Canada. Although fishing seemed a natural choice for coastal Acadians unable to farm, fluctuating markets and the domination of fishing by non-Acadians created problems and a great deal of instability in the industry by the early 20th century.

  • What

    On sunny afternoons, fishermen would lay out their salted catch on tables to dry, as shown in the right foreground of this photograph.

  • Where

    The Acadian fishery was not isolated to Caraquet, in northeastern New Brunswick. Acadian fishing villages dotted the entire eastern coast of the province.

  • When

    Until the turn of the 20th century, the catch was primarily for local consumption and was not sold in the larger national and international markets.

  • Who

    Acadians regarded fishing as a family business where each member of a family had a specific responsibility; father fished while mother and children did the processing.