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West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co. - Letter regarding food rationing

The West Highland Salmon Fisheries Ltd based in Portree, Isle of Skye employed up to 40 men during the summer months. Many of the fishermen were based at the salmon fishing stations during the week and would take their food with them for that time. Goods and foods were in short supply after the war years and rationing remained in effect for several years. This letter is a reply to a request from James Banks for an increase in rations for the men in his employment. As indicated, there were seven fishing stations and the foreman at each station would be in charge of purchasing and distributing the rations for each station. Rations would have included basic foods such as sugar, tea, cooking fat, butter, and meat. A typewritten note (undated) attached to this letter shows a list of foods as 'supplementary allowances per man per four weeks'. This supplement included, for four weeks, 1 3/4 lb sugar, 6 oz tea, 8 oz butter, 8 oz margarine, 3/4 lb bacon and 1/4 lb cheese.

In addition to food, many other supplies necessary to run the salmon fishing business were difficult to obtain.


West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd
In 1944 James Banks & Sons, Perth bought the sea salmon fishing lease for the Kilmuir Estates, Skye from A Powrie & Co, and formed the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd to operate the lease. The company continued until 1962 when it was sold to Kenneth Matheson, Portree.

When Banks and Sons took over the lease there were fishing stations at Lealt, Rigg (Borreraig), Staffin, Portree, Camustianavaig, Balmeanach and Brochel Castle (on Raasay). In 1956, Balmeanach and Camustianavaig merged to become the Braes station, with three men employed, while the others usually had four-man crews. The company employed about 28 men each year with jobs being offered to the same men each season before new workers were hired.

The season began late April/early May and ran through to the end of August. Several men were also employed during the winter months to take ice down from the dam at Sluggans for storage at the ice house at Portree harbour. Each crew member would receive a contract with information on wages, proposed bonus scheme and work hours and were provided with oilskins and rubber boots.

The catch was divided into salmon, grilse and trout, with grilse numbers being the highest. The total annual catch was approximately 3000 fish in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A record high of nearly 10,000 fish were caught in 1957.


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West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co. - Letter regarding food rationing

1950s

fishing industry; commercial fishing; salmon fishing; trout fishing; net fishing; rations; Second World War; ration books; ration coupons

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David Banks: West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd (documents)

The West Highland Salmon Fisheries Ltd based in Portree, Isle of Skye employed up to 40 men during the summer months. Many of the fishermen were based at the salmon fishing stations during the week and would take their food with them for that time. Goods and foods were in short supply after the war years and rationing remained in effect for several years. This letter is a reply to a request from James Banks for an increase in rations for the men in his employment. As indicated, there were seven fishing stations and the foreman at each station would be in charge of purchasing and distributing the rations for each station. Rations would have included basic foods such as sugar, tea, cooking fat, butter, and meat. A typewritten note (undated) attached to this letter shows a list of foods as 'supplementary allowances per man per four weeks'. This supplement included, for four weeks, 1 3/4 lb sugar, 6 oz tea, 8 oz butter, 8 oz margarine, 3/4 lb bacon and 1/4 lb cheese.<br /> <br /> In addition to food, many other supplies necessary to run the salmon fishing business were difficult to obtain.<br /> <br /> <br /> <b>West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd</b><br /> In 1944 James Banks & Sons, Perth bought the sea salmon fishing lease for the Kilmuir Estates, Skye from A Powrie & Co, and formed the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd to operate the lease. The company continued until 1962 when it was sold to Kenneth Matheson, Portree. <br /> <br /> When Banks and Sons took over the lease there were fishing stations at Lealt, Rigg (Borreraig), Staffin, Portree, Camustianavaig, Balmeanach and Brochel Castle (on Raasay). In 1956, Balmeanach and Camustianavaig merged to become the Braes station, with three men employed, while the others usually had four-man crews. The company employed about 28 men each year with jobs being offered to the same men each season before new workers were hired. <br /> <br /> The season began late April/early May and ran through to the end of August. Several men were also employed during the winter months to take ice down from the dam at Sluggans for storage at the ice house at Portree harbour. Each crew member would receive a contract with information on wages, proposed bonus scheme and work hours and were provided with oilskins and rubber boots. <br /> <br /> The catch was divided into salmon, grilse and trout, with grilse numbers being the highest. The total annual catch was approximately 3000 fish in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A record high of nearly 10,000 fish were caught in 1957. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image may be available to purchase.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com ">Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>