Herring, cod and other fish


Industrialising the sea

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Denmark became one of the world's leading fishing countries in the early 20th century when fishermen began using a highly effective net – the Danish seine – to catch plaice. Historically, Danish catches have included whales, seals, cod, plaice, salmon and eel. During the Middle Ages, herring was the most valuable catch. Today, the giant trawlers of the North Sea haul in tons of fish. Quotas have been implemented to make sure that future generations of Danes can also call themselves fishermen.

Jens Væver didn't know that he was about to revolutionise the Danish fishing industry when his idea came to him one day in 1848. Like many others living in the town of Salling, near the Liim Fjord, Væver was a smallholder who supplemented his income by fishing. Normally, he and others locals stood on the shore and fished eel and flatfish using a net known as a seine. But Væver got the idea to head out in a boat and to try fishing with a seine far from shore. When the net was dropped into the water, the fisherman could drop anchor. Then, he could pull the net back in to the boat. The new method came to be known as Danish seine or anchor seine. For fishermen, the technique meant that they were soon hauling in enormous quantities of fish from the Liim Fjord. So enormous, in fact, that those using it were accused of overfishing. Some even went as far as to demand a ban on it in order to protect fish stocks.

The blue fleet of the North Sea

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