About the Ring Net Heritage Trust

The harbours in coastal towns along the West Coast of Scotland in the 19th and 20th centuries were filled to the brim with herring fishing boats, with the harbourside bustling with activities such as fish curing, and preparing for market.

The herring industry was incredibly important to Scotland, it provided work for thousands of men and women and herring was a crucial source of protein for many families.

At its peak in 1907, Scotland's herring industry was the largest in the world and at its peak exported over 2.5m barrels of herring.

The Ring Net Heritage Trust was established on 1 June 2015 to protect and promote the ring net heritage.  In February 2016, the Trust was awarded a National Historic Ships UK grant towards work on the hull of Shemaron, a historic ex-ring net boat.  This work was carried out and completed early in March 2016.
The Trust's Objectives

Shemaron and Jasper by at the 2018 Tarbert traditional boat festival (c) J Cresswell
Shemaron and Jasper at the 2018 Tarbert Traditional Boat Festival (c) Jeremy Cresswell

The renewal of interest in the ring net method of fishing can be summarised into two areas:

- the history of the development of the ring net

- the study and maintenance of ring net boats.

To increase interest in the ring net heritage, the Trust works with local museums and heritage organisations towards promoting the ring net story as well as informing the public about the ring heritage through open days, traditional boat events and visits by interested organisations.

Goal 1 - to protect vessels associated with the rig net fishing industry:
The Trust will restore historic ring net vessels, beginning with Shemaron, to a historically accurate standard.
The Trust will also maintain Shemaron, in order to keep her seaworthy and, therefore, safeguarding her for the future.

Goal 2 - to increase public interest and encourage community engagement with the ring net's heritage:
Through working with local museums and heritage organisations, they will promote the heritage of the ring net industry.
The Trust will curate, preserve and display artefacts and information about the ring net era.
They will inform the public about this heritage through enabling public access to a historic ring net boat during open days, traditional boat events and visits by interested organisations.
The Trust will provide an accessible platform via the internet, Shemaron, and through partner organisations to educate, engage and encourage interest and participation.