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Sealers hauling pelts with gaffs and tow ropes, n.d.
Sealers hauling pelts with gaffs and tow ropes, n.d.

Sealing equipment in the 19th century consisted of a gaff for killing the seals, a knife for skinning the carcasses, and a tow rope for hauling the pelts to the ship. The gaff was a two-metre long wooden pole with an iron hook and spike attached to one end. The men struck young seals across their noses with the gaff to kill them. They also used the instruments for balance while jumping from one ice pan to another.

Photographer unknown. Reproduced by permission of the Archives and Manuscripts Division (Coll. 137 25.01.016), Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University, St. John's, NL.
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