Interviewee: Diane Flynn

Role: Fisherman and fisherman’s partner

Date of Interview: 9/23/07

Collection: Working Waterfront Festival Community Documentation Project

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Diane Flynn, who has fished alongside her partner, Skip Barlow, for decades, talks about the unique character of fishing families.

Transcript: And I got involved in the fishery about twenty-seven years ago, when I met my partner now. And we’re inshore, small-boat fishermen. We fish in open boats. Just one town, and it’s in Bourne Massachusetts. And we mostly harvest soft shell clams. And we do that hydraulically and have done that since 1978.

We have eight children between us, and quite a few grandchildren.  When I first started fishing and, out of necessity to provide a livelihood for those children, then I chose to leave the pay check type of employment and go fishing with Skip Barlow.

The fishing was a big part of our family. The kids participated in it, and they would have to go oftentimes with us because we just needed to go fishing. And they all have grown up doing different chores within the fishery. And that’s built a lot of character, I think, in my children, and I know it has in myself.  And then as our family got older, we would have three generations of kids—or three generations—on the boat. Our oldest daughters, and our oldest sons, and then as they married and had children, we’d have their children also on the boat.

A lot of people think that fishermen aren’t well educated, and fishermen are very well educated.  But that knowledge is passed on and has always been the case until, of recent. That you know, it was families that would pass that on. And there would be fishing families in generations like Skip, within the communities-- and it’s very true throughout all of Cape Cod, that there are generations of people that are in the fishery. But now, young people just can’t afford to do that. And it’s an art I think that’s being lost.

We have eight kids and we have twenty-two grandchildren. And four of the eight kids fished with us and by themselves as commercial fishermen. But now, no. They’re all, off the water. And it’s—it’s sad. It’s sad for us. And it’s sad for them too, because, it builds character. And you have to be motivated. And, those are things that a lot of young people nowadays never get to experience.

To read Diane's full transcript, click here.