National Geographic : 1947 Mar
© Lennart Nilsson from Black Star Like an Admiral's Staff, Lofoten Skippers Plan Campaigns Against the Cod BECAUSE the Vestfjorden cod banks are crowded like city streets in the rush hour, Government boats police its waters night and day. To save fishermen's time, sounding devices locate and de termine depth of cod schools (page 384). Government charts, available to all skippers, divide Lofoten grounds into numbered sections. When fish are discovered by patrol boats, the sec tion number and the depth of the school are broad cast on a "fisheries beam" each morning before the fleet puts out. Nearly all fishing boats carry radios. Lofoten fishing has as many rules as a football game. Boats may not leave port before an 8 a.m. starting signal, must return by 8 p.m . There is no fishing on Sunday. Strong drink is prohibited in the fleet. Boats may change sections, but must report to nearest inspection boat before beginning to fish at a new station. Cod fishermen use gill nets, set at night and taken up in the morning; long lines, which may reach more than a mile and carry 1,500 hooks; and short hand lines. Sections of the fjord are reserved for each type. Boats may carry only one kind of tackle. Though fishing may begin sooner, the official season opens March 1 and lasts until about Easter. In spite of careful regulation, grounds become overcrowded, lines foul, tempers rise, and lawsuits abound.