National Geographic : 2003 Jul
own money, to pay fishermen to put down their salmon nets and take up other forms of fishing or change careers. Now Vigfisson, the son of a commercial fisherman, has set his sights on the remaining salmon netsmen in the Republic of Ireland, northeastern England, and Norway. One of the groups he'd like to put out of business is the Flaherty clan. of water that extends from the Atlantic Ocean into the verdant hills of Connemara in western Ire land. Driving along the harbor on a cool, over cast afternoon, dodging sheep on the narrow, winding road, I spy a hand-lettered sign that advertises, "Get your wild salmon here." I follow a path through a meadow, then come upon the fishing operation of Thomas Flaherty, the 80 year-old patriarch of a family that makes its living netting Atlantic salmon in the harbor and just offshore. Flaherty, a slender, gray haired man in yellow oilcloth overalls and a plaid porkpie hat, is sitting on a bluff in a plastic chair, puffing on a cigarette as he scans the gray waters of Killary Harbour. Near an enclosure carved into the bluff are his son John Joseph, 41, his red-haired grandson, Jason, 13, and two other men. They are practitioners of an old art known as draft netting, which involves spot ting migrating salmon from a perch above the harbor, then rowing out in a wooden boat to encircle the fish with a net.