Lowestoft boats 1850-1950Toronto fishing charters

The fishing industry developed all around the coast line of the United Kingdom from the 1840s within a number of small village communities dependent on self-contained family enterprises. These enterprises consisted of small locally built traditional boats and practices operated by families and kin, which relied on oars and small sails, to supply neighbourthood markets. As the demand for fish expanded to meet the major food requirements of rapidly expanding urban populations the boats became bigger and some families undertook to supply this demand by employing non-family members. The more successful entrepreneurs such as the Kelsalls of Hull, the Dugdalls of Brixham, the Lawfords and Cursons of Milford Haven and the Hewitts of Barking, established fleets, which scoured the North Sea.

Casting nets by hand, relying on muscle-powered oars and sails, was replaced, first by the technologes of steam and then by oil. By the time oil powered boats began to dominate the fishing grounds as far afield as Iceland and the Bering Sea in the 1950s, the fish stocks of the United Kingdom's territorial waters were in decline andt here was a mad rush to design bigger and bigger boats to hunt fewer and fewer fish farther afield. Eventually, this madness, which ignored the ecological limiting factor of overfishing, exacerbated by European Union system of country quotas, led to the demise of the Lowestoft fleet in the 1990s. A similar fate overtook the fishing industries of Yarmouth, Hull and Grimsby at around the same time. While global catches peaked in the late 1980s, the maximum catches occurred earlier in those parts of the world where industrial fishing developed first. Thus, peak fish occurred in the mid-1970s in the North Atlantic, exploited by European and North American fisheries. In the southern Atlantic, where the industrialization of fishing started later, peak fish occurred in the mid-1990s. It is from this perspective that the fate of Lowerstoft's fishing culture stands as a model for the global profligate unsustainable use of natural resources.

Global fishing technologyToronto fishing charters