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Working the Water, the Commercial Fisheries of Maryland's Patuxent River.

"Working the Water, The Commercial Fisheries of Maryland's Patuxent River," edited by Paula J. Johnson, has been published by The University Press of Virginia, Box 3608, University Station, Charlottesville, VA 22903, in cooperation with the Calvert Marine Museum. it presents an excellent local maritime history and its importance to the local economy, along with a fine illustrated catalog with detailed descriptions of over 150 items from the museum's collection of commercial fisheries artifacts. Johnson is curator of Maritime History and Folklore at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Md.

The book begins with G. Terry Sharrer's review, "The Patuxent Fisheries: Transformations of a Rural Economy, 1880-1985," of an important commercial fishing area. Two more chapters discuss the watermen themselves and the oyster shuckers and their work over the many years. The remainder of the book is the catalog of artifacts which are grouped by fishery (fishing, soft-shell clamming, eeling, and crabbing and oystering--the largest section), which in turn, is organized along the seasonal fisheries work.

The illustrations and photographs are excellent and the supporting text is likewise ample and descriptive, often showing how the implements or nets are used. Also included is an inventory of the Commercial Fisheries Collection of the Museum, a bibliography, and an index. Many of the implements were, of course, made by hand-the traps, pots, crab gauges, and even the boats, and the book will also be of interest from not only a historical but sociological point of view as well. The 256-page volume costs $35.00 (cloth) and $19.95 (paper) and provides a human dimension to the re ion's marine fisheries history.
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Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1988
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