Sharing made our culture strong

Eileen Panigeo-Maclean, Inupiat §

Women's Work

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the use of the term "fishermen." It is our policy to use "fishermen" and "fisherman" when referring to those who harvest fish and shellfish from the sea. We also use the terms "lobstermen" and "lobsterman" in reference to those who trap lobsters. We use "fishermen" in part because we are comfortable with and endorse the traditional use of the term, and also because, with very few exceptions, it is accurate.

Fishing in the Northeast tends to be a family business, and everyone in a family plays a critical role in the venture. Traditionally, that has meant that the husband goes to sea to catch the fish, while the wife handles the on-shore side of the business.

In the past, shoreside responsibilities typically meant keeping the books and managing the family. Today it often means that, plus the tremendous responsibility (burden?) of tracking local, state, and federal rules and regulations and representing the interest of the family business before those rule-making bodies.

I believe I can safely say that the term "fishermen's wives" is proudly accepted by those it describes, including younger women who have become active in recent years in fishermen's wives associations throughout the region.

Lorelei Stevens
Associate Editor, Commercial Fisheries News
June 11, 1993

Ocean Planet Exhibition Floorplan

gene carl feldman ( (301) 286-9428

Judith Gradwohl, Smithsonian Institution (Curator/Ocean Planet)