February 21, 2019
The tour Karen Bell gave of the A.P. Bell fish house taught me things about commercial fishing that I’d never even thought to wonder about. Like: The kind of gear on a fishing boat is specific to the species of fish fished. Like: The Bell boats may fish for as long as 14 days before returning to Cortez. Like: The U.S. government knows where all the boats are all the time. Karen treated us to factoids on the history of the company. Like: In the 1920s several families moved to Cortez from a fishing village in Carteret County, North Carolina. The Bells are only one of those families still living in Cortez. Like: A.P. Bell ships fish or roe to Taiwan, Egypt, Italy, France, and Romania as well as Texas, California, New York, Georgia, and restaurants in and around Sarasota.
I’m sad to say that most of the photographs I took inside the fish house did not turn out, but happy to show that two of my photographs of an animated Karen did, as did some of the photos of fish in the cooler. I gladly eat fish, so I’m being something like hypocritical to admit that these beautiful dead animals made me feel sad. Karen’s tour left me with so many questions that I asked if I could come back another day to ask them. She agreed, so this may not be the last of the story about the fish bins.
Two photographs in this post show the bins being used as the fish are offloaded from small boats on trailers. These are boats that ferry the catch from the fishing boats, not those that go to sea. While waiting for the tour to start, I managed to put in some time photographing the bins up close.