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Salt scoop


This carved wooden object is a salt scoop for preserving fish. It was used by Stranraer herring fishermen in the early years of the 20th century.

In the days before ice and refrigeration salt was essential for preserving perishable items like fish and meat. Locally caught fish were landed at Stranraer harbour, salted and barrelled and then loaded on to railway wagons to begin the journey to the towns of the Central Belt and Northern England.

For many years Stranraer was an important port for herring. As far back as 1790 the town’s minister wrote “The herring fishery in Lochryan was formerly very considerable. Boats flocked thither in great numbers from every quarter, the inhabitants of every description found employment and wealth poured in upon them. The herrings make their appearance generally some time in September, continue two or three months, appearing and disappearing at intervals”.

But herring are fickle fish and the years of rich harvests were often followed by long periods when no fish were landed at all. The last episode of large scale herring fishing ended in the 1930s.

430mm x 95mm x 55mm
Stranraer Museum
Accession number:
WIWMS 1977.02
Digital Number:
Creation Date:
19th century
Dumfries & Galloway Council