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Bill Abernethy, pearl fisher
© Glyn Satterley

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Bill Abernethy, pearl fisher 1990 (printed 2008)

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Fresh-water mussels are on the brink of extinction because of over fishing. Due to changes in the law in 1998 it is now illegal to kill or disturb them. Legendary fisherman, Bill Abernethy was of the last generation to legally collect the pearls which form inside fresh-water mussels. This photograph shows him sitting on the river bank (possibly the River Spey near Tulcan). He is holding his tool for loosening the mussels, which live buried in sand at the bottom of fast-flowing rivers. Whilst lying on his stomach in a small boat or walking the river in waders, Abernethy would use the unusual bucket-like object shown here beside his right leg to look for the mussels underwater.


  • Acc. No. PGP 113.16
  • Medium Silver gelatine print
  • Size 22.80 x 33.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased 2008