Euskal Itsas Museoa

The big cod fishery


From December 16, 2014 to December 13, 2015

The exhibition offers, from a historical, social and economic perspective, an overview of cod fisheries with a special emphasis on those undertaken by Basque fishermen from the 16thcentury to the present.The exhibition makes known the hard and dangerous life of fishermen off Newfoundland and in various areas of the North Atlantic Ocean as well as the active participation of women carrying outashore a wide range of tasks, essential to sustain cod fishery: loading and unloading provisions and catches, processing, handling & commercializing,etc.

The exhibition consists of printed documents and manuscripts, drawings, paintings, prints, posters and photographs from public archives and private collections. It will also feature vintage mappery, models of ships, ethnographic materials, navigation instruments, fishing tackle, elements of industrial heritage, etc.

The exhibition incorporatesvaluable funds recovered by the Museum over the years andrelated to the cod fishery. Other materials from PYSBE (a cod-fishing company) a real so exhibited having been surrendered to the exhibition by Gordailua (Centre forCultural Heritage Chattel ofGipuzcoa). The restof materials come from othe rcentres –Gipuzkoako Protokoloen Artxibo Historikoa, Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea, San Telmo Museoa, Euskal Museoa (Bayonne), Bizkaiko Foru Agiritegi Historikoa, Oceanographic Foundation of Gipuzkoa, Kutxateka, Musée de Fécamp, Museu Maritimo de Ilhavo (Portugal)– and from private collections.

The exhibition is organized according to the following thematic sections:

  • 16th Century. Newfoundland, “Cods’ Land”.
  • 17th – 18th Centuries. Geopoliticsand international competition.
  • 19th Century. The beginningof modernfishing.
  • Theinvisiblework of women.
  • 20th Century. Efficiency andoverfishing.
  • Pasaia, fishing port.
  • A toughand riskylife.
  • A possible future. Sustainabilityand efficiency.
  • Gastronomy. The transformationof the mummy.
  • A very profitable fish.

Four audiovisual documentaries related to cod fishing are also integrated in the exhibition:

  • “Mares de fortuna: la pesca” (Stormy seas: fishing) (1997)
  • “Trintxerpe: Galiziarrak EuskalHerrian”(Galicia in the Basque Country) (2002)
  • “La pesca del bacalao en pareja” (Cod fishing on twin ships) (1995)
  • “A Terranova por la ruta del bacalao” (To Newfoundland along the cod route) (c. 1957)

MDissemination material

Photo gallery



Tuesday to Saturday:
10:00 - 14:00 and 16:00 - 19:00

Sundays and public holidays:
11:00 - 14:00
16.00 - 19.00 (from 15th of june to 15th of september)

December 24 and 31:
10:00 - 14:00

Closed on Mondays. Closed January 1, 6 and 20, and December 25.

Ticket prices, groups, how to arrive...