Cape Cod sees more marine mammals wash ashore than anywhere else in the country. Now all that’s left is to figure out why.
Marine mammal strandings have mystified humans for centuries. Last winter on Cape Cod, they continued to capture imaginations and national attention when a record 179 common dolphins stranded on Cape Cod Bay beaches from Sandy Neck to Wellfleet over 36 days between January 12 and February 16. The strandings continued later into the spring, marking 214 and counting this year, compared to an annual average of 38.
Weir fishing still endures as a sustainable practice, thanks to a few hardy Cape Cod fishermen.
The period from 1870 to 1930 was the heyday of weir fishing on Cape Cod, when weir-caught fish accounted for around a quarter of all New England seafood that went to market. In those days, earthen colored nets hanging from hickory poles poked from the surface of the water all over Nantucket Sound and Cape Cod Bay. The catch was split up into baitfish for the big schooners that plied the Grand Banks, fishing for cod and halibut, and the rest was put on railway cars and shipped to consumer markets in Boston and New York City. To store the quantities being shipped, freezer houses sprung up from Truro to the Cape Cod Canal. Read more…