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Commercial Menhaden Fishing

Mass., United States

Katherine Richmond

Published May 2024

Through this documentary series, Katherine Richmond brings awareness to the commercial fishing industry on Cape Ann. MA. Commercial fishing has been the primary industry on Cape Ann for hundreds of years, with many families fishing for generations. It’s a tough business, with considerable challenges on every level, from administrative and regulatory matters to outfitting a fishing vessel, hiring a capable and reliable crew, and getting fresh fish to the market.


Today, quotas and the number of licenses set by federal NOAA regulations each year either boost or deflate the price of fish and the value of a license, making commercial fishing an unpredictable endeavor at best. Fishermen have to continuously adapt to find the balance that makes it worthwhile for them to stay in business.


Richmond took eight fishing trips aboard a purse-seining vessel, fishing for Menhaden, a small, oily fish that has many uses, including bait and omega-3 oil. These fish are pelagic schooling fish that migrate inshore during the summer, and offshore in the winter months. Menhaden are a vital link in the food web for fish, marine mammals, and birds.


Katherine Richmond


Katherine Richmond was born in Boston and took up photography in 1976. She is attracted to nature, abstract, action, portrait, and documentary photography. She lives and works in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and northern Vermont. The majority of her work is limited edition fine art prints. In light of the recent development of AI technologies, Richmond wants to establish AI is not part of her process.


Since 2012, she has taken part in photographic juried competitions and exhibitions with her photography. She has won sixty-one awards, forty are from large international competitions, and seventeen are regional and local. Her photos have appeared in publications and are in many private collections.

Richmond is represented at Charles Fine Arts, Gloucester MA, Jane Deering Gallery, Gloucester MA, and a juried member at the Copley Society of Art, Boston MA,  and belongs to numerous regional and national professional organizations.

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