In 1883 Winslow Homer moved to the small coastal village of Prout’s Neck, Maine, where he created a series of paintings of the sea unparalleled in American art. Long inspired by the subject, Homer had spent summers visiting New England fishing villages during the 1870s, and in 1881–82, he made a trip to a fishing community in Cullercoats, England, that fundamentally changed his work and his life. The paintings he created after 1882 focused almost exclusively on humankind’s age-old contest with nature. HereThe Herring Net Homer depicted the heroic efforts of fishermen at their daily work, hauling in an abundant catch of herring. In a small dory, two figures loom large against the mist on the horizon, through which the sails of the mother schooners are dimly visible. While one fisherman hauls in the netted and glistening herring, the other unloads the catch. Utilizing the teamwork so necessary for survival, both strive to steady the precarious boat as it rides the incoming swells. Homer’s isolation of these two figures underscores the monumentality of their task: the elemental struggle against a sea that both nurtures and deprives.
— Entry, Essential Guide, 2013, p. 41.
Source: Art Institute Chicago--- http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/25865
For 65 years, every day, Fishbein goes at noon to Ratner’s, the famed dairy restaurant on the Lower East Side a few blocks from his clothing stall on Orchard Street, and has the schmaltz herring and a can of cream soda. He outlives waiters, cashiers, bus boys. He sees the neighborhood change. One day when Nixon is president, a waiter says to him: “Fishbein, live a little. Before you die, go up to Famous on the Upper West Side at 72nd and Broadway. Isaac Bashevis Singer practically lives there. They have great schmaltz herring. Give it a chance!”
He thinks about it and says, “Yeah, why not?” He decides he will go the next week.
Word spreads throughout the neighborhood. There is buzzing. There is gossip. How will he get there? How will he get back? He’s a lifelong bachelor. He’s probably never been above Houston Street.
As he leaves his stall at 11 on Monday, the murmuring follows him down Orchard to Delancey, where he descends into the subway. He takes the F train to West 4th, transfers to the D at 59th, climbs the stairs to the 1, and emerges at 72nd Street 40 minutes later. The word has traveled here too by Jewish telegraph; people are waiting at the subway exit to stare.
As he crosses Broadway, people are pointing. He is oblivious to it. Fishbein enters Famous. An awestruck owner wordlessly guides him to a booth and hands him a menu. “I don’t need it,” he says. “Schmaltz herring and a cream soda.”
He looks around. People look down immediately. The restaurant is hushed.
The waiter comes with a bottle of Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda and a plate with a herring on it. Fishbein picks up his knife and fork, and just as he’s about to cut into it, the herring looks up at him and barks, “Schmuck! The schmaltz herring is lousy here! Go back to Ratner’s!”
WATCH: Man vs. mammal, commercial herring fisherman films sea lion feeding frenzy
By Paula BakerOnline News Producer Global News March 16, 20176:35 pm
For commercial fisherman Allan Marsden, he’s fed up with the burgeoning sea lion population along the B.C. coast impeding his ability to do his job.
“If you weren’t actually there to see what happens, it’s almost to the point that you wouldn’t believe it,” Marsden told Global News.A fisherman for more than 40 years, Marsden feels the sea lion population has exploded over the past few years with this year being the worst he’s ever experienced. To show what he and others in the roe herring fishery face, Marsden shot a video on Monday that showed a large number of sea lions swarming his boat and fishing nets.
“I would say about 10 years ago they were not a problem. But in the last two years they’ve just exploded. They’re all over the coast, they’re off-shore as well but with the herring, you can see there’s a lot of young [sea lions], so they’re multiplying every year.”
Roe herring are fished for their eggs and the fishery takes place as the herring gather to spawn. The window is short — late February to early March — for fishermen to make their quota and Marsden says this year they were unable to make their targets.
Marsden puts a lot of the onus on the sea lions.
“The sea lions keep the herring down so we can’t get at them. They just make it virtually impossible to put the gear in the water sometimes,” Marsden explains.
“Herring season is now done. They either spawned before we could get our quota or there have been too many sea lions to work around.”
Marsden says the sea lions have an uncanny sense for fishing vessels.
“The minute you start setting that net they come from everywhere. And when you see them coming, it’s as if you’re in a river and you’re in rapids. All you see is this white foam water coming at you,” he said.
While Marsden and others feel the population of sea lions is “exploding,” according to the Department of Fisheries (DFP), the mammals have been steadily growing for 30 years or more and only recently hit a healthy number.
“The Steller sea lion, which is what we have up along the B.C. coast, for many years they seasonally come into the Georgia Strait to get herring,” Dr. John Ford with the DFO confirmed.
“… just like the fisherman do. But the number of sea lions hasn’t made any sharp increase in the last few years. It’s been steady.”
Ford says there are about 5,000 sea lions in the southern Vancouver Island area, where Marsden shot the video, and that the populations vary from location to location along the west coast of B.C.
“Overall, the population over the winter is almost 50,000 [sea lions] and they’re recovering from culling/predator control that took place for decades prior to 1970,” Ford said.
Since 1980, more than 80 per cent of the western Steller sea lion population disappeared. As a consequence, in 1997, some populations of the Steller sea lions in Alaska was listed as endangered.
“It was a federal fisheries program to reduce the population and now they’re re-establishing themselves as significant parts of the marine ecosystems along with others like sea otters and whales,” Ford says.
“Having them back to their historical abundance is a good thing for a healthy, normal marine ecosystem.”
Ford admits there’s a “natural concentration” of both fisherman and sea lions to target the same food, which can make it more difficult for the fisherman to navigate around the marine mammals.
Difficult is an understatement from Marsden’s point of view.
“I know of one business the damage to gear alone from sea lions — not looking at the cost of losing the fish — just gear damage… cost the business $100,000,” Marsden says.
SOME WWII HERRING HISTORY Did You Ever Hear Of "Operation Herring" ?
Operation Herring: the last WWII war launch of the Italian Paratroopers
This was the Allied drop of a specially trained Italian partisan unit, numbering some 250 men, behind the German lines in the valley of the Po river in northern Italy (19/22 April 1945).
The object of this undertaking, which was the last airborne operation of World War II in Europe, was to disrupt the lines of communication to Generaloberst Heinrich-Gottfried von Vietinghoff-Scheel’s retreating Heeresgruppe ‘C’ as the Allies swept forward in the final stages of the Italian campaign. The April 1945 'Craftsman' and 'Buckland' Allied offensives in northern Italy were aimed at a decisive breakthrough of the German ‘Gotisch-Linie’, the defensive line along the Apennine mountains and the Po river plain to the Adriatic Sea, for a rapid drive to the north to occupy northern Italy and reach the Austrian and Yugoslav frontiers a rapidly as possible.
However, the Allied planners believed that German strongpoints, the destruction of bridges, road, levees and dikes, and limited but determined resistance over the Po river valley might slow the planned operation. Thus there emerged the concept that the dropping of paratroops into some of the key areas to the south of Po river could disrupt the German rear areas, attack German lines of communication, and destroy German motor transport, so dislocating the German retreat and preventing German pioneers from blowing key chokepoint features before the Allied spearheads could reach and take them.
Lieutenant General Sir Richard McCreery, commanding of the British 8thArmy, had a number of Italian paratroopers available for such an effort. In March 1945, the whole 114-strong F Reconnaissance Squadron organised as 12 squads of Italian paratroops under Capitano Carlo Gay, and 112 volunteers organised as four platoons, each comprising three squads led by Tenente Guerrino Ceiner (all of the Reggimento fanteria paracudisti ‘Nembo’ of Generale di Brigata Giorgio Morigi’s Gruppo di Combattimento 'Folfore') were selected for ‘Herring’. This would comprise eight drops in areas to the south of Po river, at locations to the south-east of Ferrara, the Mirandola area, and Poggio Rusco and the main road linking Modena and Mantua.
During the night of 19/20 April the Italian paratroopers, together with at least one British paratrooper who had joined them, jumped from 14 Douglas Dakota transport aircraft. The drop was very dispersed, but this did not significantly impede the progress of the following ground operation. A few men were captured on landing, but their comrades proved very aggressive. Some 16 paratroopers were surrounded by German forces and fought it out from a farmhouse until all but two had been killed and their ammunition had been exhausted. Other groups were more successful, inflicting heavy damage and suffering light casualties.
The 18 men of two squads of F Reconnaissance Squadron took two small towns, Ravarino and Stuffione, capturing 451 Germans and holding out until the arrival of the first Allied ground forces.
In the event ‘Herring’ lasted 72 rather than the originally planned 36 hours, but was a success. According to some sources, and with the aid of local partisan groups, the Italian paratroopers killed 481 German soldiers of General Traugott Herr’s 10th Army, captured 1,083 German soldiers, destroyed 44 vehicles and captured many more vehicles including some tanks, armoured cars and guns, cut 77 telephone lines, took three bridges, and blew up one ammunition dump.
The paratroopers themselves suffered 31 dead (including one British paratroop sergeant) and some 10 to 12 men wounded.