The Woven Weirs of Minas (Curatorial Report #73)

Joleen Gordon


In Nova Scotia each spring, the mixed hard and softwood forests of Colchester and Cumberland Counties become an active foraging ground for the men who cut the hundreds of trees-spruce, fir, birch, cherry, maple and alder-needed to build their fence-like fish traps, or weirs often pronounced "wares", on the expansive intertidal flats of the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy.  This study focuses primarily on present-day woven fish weirs at Economy and Five Islands.

This study examines the lives of two men who continue to weave brush weirs in Nova Scotia. James Webb of Economy is a commercial fisherman who builds the sole all-woven weir not only along this shore but in the entire province. Gerald Lewis of Five Islands is a retired fisherman who continues to build his woven/netted weir off this mystical string of islands each summer, both as a source of food for himself and his neighbours and as a tourist attraction. This is their story, along with the fascinating history of the brush weir fishery in Nova Scotia.


Please note: This resource is presented as originally published. The content of older reports may not reflect the current state of knowledge on the topic documented. Please be aware of this when using this resource.


Woven weirs; Minas; Fish traps; Nova Scotia; Fishing nets; Weir fishing; Brush weirs

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