Guide to the Women in the Commerical Fishing Industry Research Collection
1902-1995; 1988-1995

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Morris, Carole Teshima
Title: Women in the Commercial Fishing Industry Research Collection
Dates: 1902-1995 ( inclusive )
1988-1995 ( bulk )
Quantity: 1 linear ft.
Collection Number: XOE_CPNWS0133womeninfishing
Summary: This collection of newspaper clippings, statistics, scholarly articles, and first hand account oral interviews pertain to women in the commercial fishing industry. They were collected by the then Western Washington University student, Carole Morris, as a senior thesis project in the History department. These materials range from 1902 to 1995.
Repository: Western Washington University, Heritage Resources
Contact Information: Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Building
808 25th St
Bellingham, WA
Telephone: 360-650-7747
Languages: Collection materials are in English.  
Sponsor: Funding for preparing this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the Washington State Legislature to the Washington Women's History Consortium. Funding for encoding the finding aid was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

These materials were collected by Carole Teshima Morris for a senior thesis project on women in the commercial fishing industry for the department of history at Western Washington University. The resulting paper was entitled, "Permission to Come Aboard? Right to Come Aboard? Women in the Pacific Northwest Fishing Fleet, 1945-1993." During the course of her research, Morris collected numerous newspaper clippings, statistics, and scholarly articles. Morris also conducted five oral interviews with fisherwomen to add to the written research material that she collected.

Content Description

The materials in this collection document issues relating to women working in the Alaskan and Pacific Northwest commercial fishing industry. The bulk of this collection is comprised of photocopied material gathered by Carole Morris during the course of her research on the topic. She amassed not only a number of newspaper clippings that relate to fisherwomen, but also articles, scholarly journals and trade magazines that pertain to commercial fishing in general. In addition to articles and clippings, the collection includes bibliographic and archival repository reference information as well as findings and reports from commissions like the Washington State Fish Commissioner and the Commercial Fishers Project of the Seaman's Church Institute of New York and New Jersey. The collection spans from 1902 to the mid 1990s, although the majority of it dates from 1988 to 1995. Among the major topics covered in this collection are equality, general fishing laws and regulations, names and statistics of fisherwomen in the region, as well as issues of discrimination and harrassment affecting women working in a male dominated profession.

Morris's finished thesis, "Permission to Come Aboard? Right to Come Aboard? Women in the Pacific Northwest Fishing Fleet, 1945-1993," ties together these numerous sources on the commercial fishing industry. The interviews date from 1993.Also included are the interview forms and questionnaires that she used.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

The collection is open to the public.

Preferred Citation :  

Women in the Commercial Fising Industry Reseach Collection, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Women in the Commercial Fishing Industry Research Collection is arranged in accordance with the following series arrangement:

  • Series I: Research Material, 1902-1995
  • Series II: Oral History Interviews, 1993
Related Materials :  

Related material includes the Women's Maritime Association records, housed at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.

Separated Materials :  

One interview was removed at the request of the interviewee.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series I:  Research Material, 1902-1995
1/1 Senior Thesis Western Washington University: “Permission to Come Aboard? Right to Come Aboard? Women in the Pacific Northwest Fishing Fleet, 1945-1993.” Carole Teshima Morris, Winter 1994. 1994
1/2 Women in Northwest Commercial Fishing Presentation 1994
1/3 Archival and Museum Fishing Resources Materials undated
1/4 Bibliographic Material Concerning Women in Fishing 1973-1991
1/5 General Fishing Resources 1978-1994
1/6 Fishing Statistics 1987-1993
1/7 Fishing Legal Material 1930-1989
1/8 Fishing Newspaper Clippings – Work 1987-1995
1/9 Fishing Newspaper Clippings – Abuse 1989-1994
1/10 Fishing Journal, Magazine, and Newspaper Articles 1980-1995
1/11 Fishing Journal, Magazine, and Newspaper Articles 1980-1995
2/1 The Fisherman, 50th Anniversary 1987 July
2/2 Thirteenth Annual Report of the State Fish Commissioner to the Governor of the State of Washington 1902
2/3 Fishing Potential Women Interviewees 1978-1995

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Series II:  Oral History Interviews, 1993
2/4 Maritime Surveys undated
2/5 Fishing Letters/Interview Release Information 1993
2/6 Dennis, Lyn
Abstract: Lynn Dennis recounts her experience as a female fisherman in the Pacific Northwest, where she fished for both sockeye salmon and crab. Ms. Dennis explains that she first fished the Nooksack River in a 12-foot boat, gradually working her way up to a 21-foot gill-netter (The Humdinger) operating out of Point Roberts. She describes the tribal fisheries system (in which enrolled tribal members can receive treaty licenses for commercial fishing), differences between fishing on rivers and fishing in salt water, and selection of crew members. She describes the realities of commercial fishing, fishing in inclement weather, and lessons learned from those experiences. She discusses discrimination in fishing and ways to overcome that adversity, and the economic and political climate of the commercial fishing industry in the 1990s, including some ramifications of the US-Canada Treaty on tribal fishing operations.
1993 February 11
2/7 Jez, Katrina
Abstract: Katrina Jez describes her work in fishing, primarily in Southeast Alaska, and explains a typical season on a purse-seine boat. She discusses crew turnover, salaries and her specific duties onboard the boat. She reflects on the growing numbers of women working on purse-seiners, and the good living provided by commercial fishing. She describes some of the dangers accompanying the job, changes in the industry relating to boats, regulations, and resources, and the strong sense of community in the fishing industry. She describes the process of purse-seining and the joys and demands of the job. Ms. Jez discusses fisheries management issues such as dwindling fish populations in Puget Sound and efforts to restock Southeast Alaska fisheries. She mentions the politics of fishing, the impact of Asian driftnet fishing, and describes an increasing consciousness about the environment and pollution problems from within the fishing community. She reflects on the potential challenges affecting women and other individuals involved in commercial fishing.
2/8 Mosness, Anne
1993 April 20
2/9 Walker, Kim
Abstract: Kim Walker recalls her introduction to fishing as a nineteen-year old in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Her first job was as a cook on the Unimak, a power scow tender and crabber. She describes experiences when she began work as a deckhand, and explains the various job descriptions on a processing boat (approx. 130-140 feet). She discussed the dangers of fishing, especially during inclement weather, and reflects on wages, family dynamics, licensing, and the experiences of women in the industry.
1993 February 25

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This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Personal Names :
  • Morris, Carole Teshima  ( creator)
  • Subject Terms :
  • Fisheries -- Alaska -- History -- Sources.
  • Fisheries -- Washington(State) -- History -- Sources.
  • Oral History.
  • Sex discrimination against women -- Alaska -- History -- Sources.
  • Sex discrimination against women -- Washington (State) -- History -- Sources.
  • Sex discrimination in employment -- Alaska -- History -- Sources.
  • Sex discrimination in employment -- Washington (State) -- History -- Sources.
  • Sexual harassment -- Washington(State) -- History -- Sources.
  • Women fish trade workers -- Alaska -- History -- Sources.
  • Women fish trade workers -- Washington(State) -- History -- Sources.
  • Women fishers -- Alaska -- History -- Sources.
  • Women fishers -- Washington(State) -- History -- Sources.

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