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Fishing has been Shetland's main industry for centuries. In the time of the first photographs fishing was done from open boats, working from beaches. This hazardous fishery was replaced from the 1880s by the herring fishing. Photographs record this remarkable boom, which peaked in the 1900s, with fishing stations located all over the islands. The fleet has developed, with the change from sail to engine power, but the days of crowded harbour scenes are over. Many countries have fished Shetland waters, from the Manx to the Russians, but the most important was the huge Dutch fleet . Many photographs show fish processing, especially the hundreds of women who gutted herring, living in seasonal huts.
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