Hector Weir Co.
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CA GMA MG69
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- Hector Weir Co.
1.5 cm of textual records : 29.75 x 19 x 1.5 cm
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The Hector Weir was a fish trap located off the shores of Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, in front of the Anchorage Provincial Park. It is unknown who or what it was named after. Since weirs were expensive to establish and maintain, most weirs had a number of shareholders who divided costs and revenues. The records that we have of the Hector Weir Co. do not list the shareholders, but an entry from 6 March 1897 lists the company's elected officers: F. M. Gordon, Secretary; Frank Benson, Boss; James Ingersoll, Second Boss.
Although the date it was first constructed is not known, the weir was rebuilt in 1948 and operated until 1956.
A weir is a fish trap that is made of long wooden stakes that have been pounded into the ocean floor near a shore, usually forming the shape of a kidney with a straight line of stakes leading toward the land. Starting in early summer, nets are attached to the stakes, so that the straight line of stakes acts as a barrier to fish swimming up the shore and channels them into the opening of the weir, where they are trapped but are still able to swim until they are ready for harvesting. When they caught enough fish or had a market to sell them in, the fishermen would cast a net inside the wear and pull the catch onto waiting boats or scows.
The catch had several different possible uses. Herring catches were often salted and smoked, while Sardines were sent to the cannery, where workers removed the heads and tails and packed the fish into cans. These products were then sold to markets in the West Indies and around the world. Some fish were also sold to local lobster fishermen for use in traps. Additionally, fish scales, which were collected by special slits in the fishermen’s scows, were sold to manufacturers of “pearl essence”—the silvery white substance sometimes used to give cosmetic products such as lipstick their pearly shine. Since this last product is no longer economical, this usage of fish scales is—at least for Grand Manan’s fisheries—a thing of the past .
When the Grand Manan Archives were established in 1986, this book was transferred from the Grand Manan Museum, which had acquired the book through Judson Harvey in July 1965.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of one account book used to record expenses incurred in maintaining a weir from 1895 to 1906 and what was paid to the labourers. Although it lists the officers in 1897 it does not list the share holders.
Immediate source of acquisition
The Grand Manan Archives received this fonds in 1986 from the Grand Manan Museum, which had acquired the book through Judson Harvey in July 1965.
Originally this volume was accessioned as MBU/we/2/1. When it was discovered that it had not been microfilmed with the remainder of the MBU collection, this book was assigned to collection MG13. MG13 was the number assigned all of the books that had missed being microfilmed. In 2007, this was described to RAD standards.
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Oral histories about the Hector Weir can be found in MG110 Hector Weir Oral Histories.