Rare Tunny Fishing Film Goes Digital

C. S./ A. R./YCMA

Col. Stapleton-Cotton with his 630lb tunny, the second fish to be caught on rod and line in British waters, landed at Scarborough on Sept. 3rd 1930.

Col. Stapleton-Cotton with his 630lb tunny, the second fish to be caught on rod and line in British waters, landed at Scarborough on Sept. 3rd 1930.

A small Scarborough-based research group that has been investigating the marine life and fishing industry of the Yorkshire coast for many years, and has put on many displays for the public, is hoping to net a different sort of catch by transferring a rare old newsreel film of tunny fishing at Scarborough onto digital format in order to produce a DVD for sale to the public.

The group maintains a museum and archive of marine biological collections as well as bygones and other exhibits relating to the ancient fishing history of the coast, and is hoping sales of the DVD will provide much needed funding towards the goal of eventually opening the educational collection to the public.

The old film, once shown in local cinemas, recalls the days when the rich and famous came to Scarborough to try their hand at catching the exotic monster visitors to the North Sea, and shows the anglers at sea and also a large catch of the giant fish laid about on Scarborough’s Old Pier.

David Whittaker, who founded the fisheries museum project forty years ago, explained that the rare film was offered to them by a local collector and dealer 25 years ago, and was immediately purchased for the collection, with the intention of eventually transferring it to video. However, as technology has continually changed, ideas of what to do with the film have also altered. A book on tunny fishing in the North Sea is being written by the group, and one idea has been to include the DVD with the sale of the book.

A tunny angler and his boat-man, waiting for a strike in perfect, near-calm conditions out in the North Sea.

A tunny angler and his boat-man, waiting for a strike in perfect, near-calm conditions out in the North Sea.

Mr Whittaker said that in the mean time it was anticipated that the film would be run during any of the groups displays to the public that may be put on during 2010.

A computer graphics member of the Yorkshire Fisheries Archive is seen here examining the film while taking off digital stills before the film was transferred as a moving image.

A computer graphics member of the Yorkshire Fisheries Archive is seen here examining the film while taking off digital stills before the film was transferred as a moving image.