Beyond the Catch

Fisheries of the North Atlantic, the North Sea and the Baltic, 900-1850


Current concerns about the survival of marine life and the fishing industry have contributed to a rising interest in their past development. While much of the scholarship is focused on the recent past, this collection of essays presents new interpretations in the pre-industrial history of the fisheries by highlighting the consequences of the northern fisheries through an interdisciplinary approach, including the environment, economy, politics, and society in the medieval and early modern periods. A wide variety of topics related to the fisheries, such as settlement and spatial organisation, processing methods, trade, profitability and taxation, consumption, communication and cooperation, ranging from the Viking Age until industrialisation are dealt with in a long term perspective, offering new insights in the intriguing relationship between marine life and humanity.
Contributors are Inês Amorim, James H. Barrett, Christiaan van Bochove, Petra van Dam, Chloé Deligne, Carsten Jahnke, Alison M. Locker, Thomas H. McGovern, Sophia Perdikaris, Marnix Pieters, Peter Pope, Bo Poulsen, Callum M. Roberts, Louis Sicking, Dries Tys, Adri van Vliet, Annette de Wit, Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz.


EUR €169.00USD $211.00

Biographical Note

Louis Sicking is lecturer in history at the University of Leiden. He has published extensively on maritime and overseas history including Neptune and the Netherlands. State, economy, and war at sea in the Renaissance (Brill, 2004) and Colonial Borderlands: France and the Netherlands in the Atlantic in the 19th century,(Brill, 2008).
Darlene Abreu-Ferreira is an associate history professor at the University of Winnipeg. She has published on the early modern Portuguese-Newfoundland cod trade and on early modern Portuguese women. She is presently working on a study of women and crime in early modern Portugal.

Review Quotes

"The book they have assembled is admirable. It not only helps correct the neglect of the early commercial fisheries, but also serves to extend the scholarly horizons of fisheries history in temporal, spatial, topical and interdisciplinary directions", DAVID J. STARKEY University of Hull, in Scottish Historical Review, 90/2, 2011, 318-20 DOI: 10.3366/shr.2011.0041

Table of contents

List of Ilustrations
List of Contributors

Section One Landscape, Settlements and Spatial Organization
1. 'Dark Age Economics' revisited: the English Fish-Bone Evidence 600-1600
2. Viking Age Economics and the Origins of Commercial Cod Fisheries in the North Atlantic
3. Undertsanding a MEdieval Fishing Settlement along the Southern North Sea: Walraversijde, c. 1200-1630
4. Transformation of the MAritime Culturak Landscape of Atalntic Cnada by Migratory European Fishermen, 1500-1800

Section Two Trade, Profitability and Taxation
5. The Medieval Herring Fishery in the Western Baltic
6.Fish, Stock and Barrel. Changes in the Stockfish Trade in Northern Europe, c. 1360-1560
7. The 'Golden Mountain': An Economic Analysis of Holland's Early Modern Herring Fisheries
8. The Evolution of Portugese Fisheries in the Medieval and Early Modern Period. A Fiscal Approach

Section Three Consumption, Communication and Cooperation
9.Carp in teh City. Fish-Farming Ponds and Urban Dynamics in Brabant and Hainaut, c. 1100-1500
10. Fish for Feast and Fast. Fish Consumption in the Netherlands in the Late Middle Ages
11. 'Our Triumph of Holland'. War, Violence, and the Herring Fishery of the Low Countries, c. 1400-1650
12. Women in Dutch Fishing Communities. The Cases of Ter Heijde and Maassluis, c. 1600-1700
13. Talking Fish. Co-operation and Communication in teh Dutch North Sea Herring Fisheries, c. 1600-1850



All those interested in the history of the fisheries, zooarchaeology, medieval archaeology, maritime history, social, economic and institutional history, the history of marine life, environmental history, and the history of the landscape.


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