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Sea Change

A Shetland Society, 1970-1979

By Reginald Byron
Categories: Economics, Environmental Studies, Fisheries, Food Studies, Island Studies, Labour, North Atlantic European Studies, Oceans
Series: Social and Economic Studies
Series Number: 32
Paperback : 9780919666498, 164 pages, April 1986


Sea Change is an anthropological account of Burra, a small fishing island in Shetland, the northernmost part of the British Isles. Over the centuries the people of Burra have adapted their economic and organizational strategies to a fishing technology that has progressed from fourerns (small four-oared boats) to the purse- and seine-netters of today.

In contrast to the gradual changes of the past, the Burra society of the 1970s was transformed by a combination of external factors: bureaucratic changes affecting the capitalization of fishing, a new road bridge link to the mainland and the discovery of oil offshore. Byron chronicles the consequent changes in community life.


Sea Change is full of colorful accounts about ocean fishing that the author obviously enjoys telling. This book would make interesting reading for anyone who wants to learn what it is like to earn a living from the sea

- Atlantic Provinces Book Review