A typical Bay of Fundy weir. Photo: www.brunswick.ca/Learn-About-Sardines/
In simple terms, a weir is a fish trap made of a series of wooden stakes with twine stretched between each stake to catch fish, but water is allowed to pass through freely. Weirs are built in tidal areas, so they are a perfect and efficient match for the Bay of Fundy! In most of the Bay, the target fish is herring (although flounder and mackeral are targeted in other parts of the Bay). Herring move to the surface and inshore at night. The weirs have a "fence" that direct the herring into opening of the weir, where the fish begin to swim in a circular or figure-8 pattern which always directs them away from the opening. Unable to exit, the fish are eventually collected from the weir using a purse seine which draws fish to the surface and collects them into a condensed group when the net is pulled tighter (or pursed).
You can get in, but the chances of getting out are slim. Photo: http://www.gma.org/herring/default.asp
Herring is an important commercial fishery in the Bay of Fundy and is sold in many different forms. Herring can be consumed fresh, but can also be smoked and sold as Kippers. In the Atlantic, sardines sold in cans are simply a small herring. In addition, herring is used for bait for other commercial fisheries, such as crab and lobster, as well as being used in feed for pets, livestock, aquarium and aquaculture fish. Even the scales of herring (called "pearl essence") have been found useful by both the paint and cosmetic industries.
Stay tuned for Part 2....