Fish or Cut Bait Collective fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Fish or Cut Bait Collective fonds

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Reference code

Vc328-Vc332, Vc884, Vc1200-Vc1205, Vc1262-Vc1273; Vb15; Fb2227-Fb2229; Fc1703-Fc1828, Fc3393-Fc3404; Fn38-Fn63.

Edition area

Edition statement

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1978-1981 (Creation)
    Fish or Cut Bait Collective

Physical description area

Physical description

  • 169 film reels
  • 25 videocassettes

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Fish or Cut Bait Collective was formed in 1980 by Bill McKiggan and Tom Burger. The objective of the collective was to complete the film, "Fish or Cut Bait" and facilitate its distribution, and to support and work with other filmmakers. Production began in 1978, with initial funding provided by the Canada Council. The NFB in Halifax and the Atlantic Filmmaker's Cooperative supplied film stock and processing equipment. The NFB Montreal (English Language Production) also contributed funds. The NFB ceased its funding in November 1980; however filming was completed in 1981 and the material re-edited and updated in 1989. Using archival footage, stills, interviews with union organizers and fishermen, and footage shot at several locations throughout the Atlantic Provinces, the filmmakers documented the fight of small private fishing operations to form their own trade union and the establishment and subsequent detrimental effects on the inshore fisheries of the large multinational fishing operations.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of moving images relating to five productions of the Collective: "Fish or Cut Bait," "Charlie Murray," "The Finest Kind," "Work and Wages in Halifax," and "The Michelin Bill." Includes final production versions and, in some cases, source material created for the production and rough footage, such as filmed and videotaped interviews (mainly by Bill McKiggan), workprints, negatives, videotransfers, rough edits, and revisions. The production "Work and Wages Halifax, 1978" contains two videocassettes, one each of the short (27m, 30s) and long (46m, 06s) versions of the production. The "Michelin Bill," about the labour demonstrations in Halifax over the bill, includes one film reel negative and one videocassette of the completed production.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Bill McKiggan and Tom Burger in February 1983, March 1988, April and July 1989, and April 1992.


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Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Open for consultation; written permission required from Bill McKiggan for reproduction until 2022.

Associated materials

Charles Balish fonds (SMI Inventory no. 0003) contains Lockeport Lockout footage used by McKiggan and Berger.

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