The Dutch Herring Buss (sometimes busse or bus, Dutch: haring buis or simply buis from buizen = slow sailing) was a heavily built vessel chiefly for the North Sea fishery. Early forms until the middle of the 17th century were two masted boats of the order of 20 to 40 tons or a bit more, which were later developed in to a three masted boat of 60 to 70 tons.
A bus did have its own nets too (drifting type - trailing the nets with only mizzen sail and the bow directed to the wind) but usually a bus served as a "mother boat", curing the fish of a surrounding fleet of smaller fishing boats, as the herring had to be cured within 24 hrs. Busses usually worked out of sight of land as they roamed far and wide following the army of herring migration, and when it had a full load, the barrels would be ferried ashore and then salt was brought back for more fish.
A 70 ton bus had a crew of 17 men, half being salters/gutters. A proper buss was a purpose built boat. The main deck f.e. was fitted with some kind of "roof-stick braces (hoops)" in order to provide a sheltered workspace for the gutters and salters (a). The boat had a typical narrow poop which could be sheltered by the main sail resting on an unusually high mast hoop (f). Average length was about 50 feet and beam 16 feet. Ready made barrels were hung overboard (b) where they easily could be picked up by the fast ferrying boats, the Jagers. Traditionally the first Jager of the season delivered a barrel to the Royal Dutch household with the second Jager heading for Altona (today a part of Hamburg) from where it was sent to the Royal Danish household.
The total number of busses under sail was fairly overestimated until recently. For most of the time the Dutch had not more than 700 of these profitable buss vessels. Each vessel did three trips a season and would land 800 barrels per season of Dutch salted herring i.e. that being, the fish was gutted before being immersed in brine. Each barrel would have approx 1000 gutted herrings.
The buss was also in the English herring fishery. In September 1662 a scheme for building herring busses had been inaugurated by the Council of Royal Fishery, the King himself undertaking to provide ten boats. With boats up to 200 tons the English marked the final development stage of this type of fishing boats by the end of the 17th century.]]