A wooden corf

A corf (pl. corves) also spelt corve (pl. corves) is a container of wood, net, chicken wire, metal or plastic used to contain live fish, eels or crustaceans (such as crayfish) underwater, at docks or in fishing boats.[1][2]

Origin of term

1350–1400; Middle English from Dutch and German Korb, ultimately borrowed from Latin corbis basket;[3] cf. corbeil


Corves were originally crucial to keep captured fish fresh until the boat with the catch reached its harbor.[4] A corf could be towed behind the boat while fishermen made the journey from the fishing grounds to the fish market. These journeys could last up to half a day.[5] When used for storing eels in Blekinge, Sweden, the corves could be as large as 3.75 by 1.33 by 0.8 m (12 ft 3+58 in by 4 ft 4+38 in by 2 ft 7+12 in) and contain about 2 metric tons (2.2 short tons; 2.0 long tons) of eels. They would be anchored approximately 100 m (330 ft) from land in an area where the water circulation was good to keep the eels alive.[6] Smaller corves were often used in fishing boats to keep live bait for longline fishing.[4]

The corf could also be built into the boat, and sometimes be a significant part of it.[4] Fishing boats with a well amidships where water is circulated through small holes in the hull are known as well smacks.[7][8]

In present days corves used for this purpose have commonly been replaced by refrigeration and freezing.[9]


A corf-house is a small building or shed constructed for commercial curing of fish, mostly salmon, in. It is also used to store nets and fishing equipment in.[3] One such house is the listed By Lovat Bridge Corf House in Beauly, Scotland.[10]

Modern use

Corves are mainly used by recreational fishermen and mass-produced in plastic netting or metal.[11][12] Their use is regulated through laws and regulations in some countries such as Sweden,[13][14][15] and Australia.[16]

Modern fishing boats often have integral corves. These are built into the boat and the water in them kept fresh and oxygenated through a circulatory system with water and air pumps. This kind of corf is called a livewell.[17][18]

See also: Artisanal fishing

See also


  1. ^ "Fisheries management (general) regulations 2007-reg 3". Australasian Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  2. ^ Strömquist, Siv (6 April 2003). "Sumpad sump i sumpen" [Lost used coffee grounds in the corf]. Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b Jamieson, John (1840). An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language (2 ed.). W. Tait. p. 245.
  4. ^ a b c Kjellgren, Joachim (22 August 2013). "Ovanligt träföremål i vår frågelåda" [Question about an unusual object]. www.murberget.se. Länsmuseet Västernorrland. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  5. ^ "History". www.leroyseafood.com. Lerøy. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Fisksump/ålsump från Truseryd". www.blekingemuseum.se. Blekinge museum. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  7. ^ Johnson, Lars. "Åländsk fisksump" [Well smack from Åland]. www.tugboatlars.se. tugboatlars.se. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Well smack for driftnet fishing K. 1213 De tre brødre from Kalvehave". www.fimus.dk. Fisheries and Maritime Museum, Esbjerg. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  9. ^ Johnston, W.A.; Nicholson, A.Roger; Stroud, G.D. (1994). Freezing and refrigerated storage in fisheries. Aberdeen: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. p. 13.1. ISBN 92-5-103579-2.
  10. ^ "By Lovat Bridge Corf House, Beauly". www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. BritishListedBuildings. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Fisksump" [Corf]. www.malco.se. Malco. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Strömmings sköljare metall" [Herring corf, metal]. www.sumpansfiske.se. Sundbybergs Sportfiske. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Generella villkor" [General terms]. www.fiskekort.se. Sveriges Sportfiske- och Fiskevårdsförbund. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  14. ^ "Fiskelag (1993:787)" [Laws on fishing (1993:787)]. www.notisum.se. Notisum AB. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Fiskeregler i havet" [Fishing regulations at sea] (PDF). www.lansstyrelsen.se. County administrative boards of Sweden. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  16. ^ "Fisheries (General) Regulations 2000" (PDF). www.legislation.sa.gov.au. Government of Australia. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  17. ^ "Hur man installerar en fisktanks Aerator Pump" [How to install a livewell aerator pump]. www.drelkins.com. Drelkins. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Arvor 250 AS". www.gbm.se. GBM Marin AB. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.