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Sea Fish and Shellfish

The Herring Fishing Season

During the summer months the main fishing effort was for herrings, which the fishermen called the “silver darlings”.

Some of our local boats joined the herring fleets that gathered in May off the West and North coasts of Scotland, then followed the shoals as they migrated southwards. However, most waited until the herrings arrived off Berwickshire and Northumberland at the end of July, though some boats may try the herring fishing as early as June.

In addition to the local fleet, at the height of the season each summer as many as 400 “stranger” herring boats visited Berwick and its associated ports each summer. They came from as far away as Cornwall, East Anglia, the Isle of Msan and the Orkneys.

From mid-September, the shoals moved further southwards to the Yorkshire coast and ended off and East Anglia by October..

Extracts from contemporary newspapers relating to the herring fishing season in Victorian times