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The Seasonality Of Fishing In Medieval Britain

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Chapter Summary

The fishing industry and trade of the Middle Ages was subject to a marked seasonality of demand and supply that has mainly been studied as an example of religious influence on diet. This chapter focuses on the potent influence that seasonality had on the supply of fish, an influence evident in the temporal, geographic, economic, and social organization of the medieval British fishing industry and trade. The seasonal rhythms of the marine fishing industry were dictated by the migration of fish to their spawning grounds. Policy makers and political authorities were also very aware of the seasonality of fishing. Although the supply of fish available to medieval consumers was dictated by the seasonal rhythms of the different fish species, the advances made in curing techniques in the late Middle Ages allowed fishermen to respond more directly to seasonal demand, which did not always match seasonal supply.

Keywords: medieval British fishing industry; seasonality



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