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Survival of A People: Using our Natural Resources 1875-1975
Islands Museum
Long and Brier Islands , Nova Scotia


   Long and Brier islands
were well established and
self-sufficient communities
by 1875. The great majority
of families earned their
living from the fishing
industry, either in boats or
another fishing-related
business. Fish was the staple
of the islanders' diet. A few

hardy souls established
themselves in farming and
lumbering, supplying the
islands with farm produce,
meat, and wood for burning
and construction purposes.
The land was not conducive to
agriculture, so these
families had to have a real
love for what they were

   For those necessities of
life not provided by the sea,
the farm, or the backyard
garden, there was trading.
The islands’ chief trading
partner was the "French
shore”–the area of mainland
directly across Saint Mary's
Bay. Salt fish and "slack

fish"–a lightly salted
delicacy for which the
islands were well known–were
loaded into a boat for the
trip across the Bay. There,
they were bartered for bulk
vegetables, fruits, and other
items. Relatively little cash
was necessary. Items that
needed to be purchased

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