When steam-powered fishing vessels became more common in the late 19th century, it was British vessels and technology that were largely the model when similar methods were introduced around Europe. Attempts were also made in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, with varying degrees of success, to introduce industrial fishing methods according ... (Show more)
When steam-powered fishing vessels became more common in the late 19th century, it was British vessels and technology that were largely the model when similar methods were introduced around Europe. Attempts were also made in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, with varying degrees of success, to introduce industrial fishing methods according to the British model. This period is often presented as a time when traditional "free" fishermen stood against the fishing companies and big capitalists of the new age. The fishing companies are often presented as something marginal in the fishing industry in Scandinavia. But on closer inspection of the technology shift in Scandinavia, it becomes clear that this picture needs to be nuanced.
When the fishing industry took the step into the industrial age, it was more than just fishing methods and fishing vessels that changed. The vessels became increasingly expensive and individual fishermen could not finance the new fishing vessels. Collaboration, bank loans or government support were required. International trade in used fishing vessels also became extensive.
Unlike sailing vessels, steam-powered fishing vessels obviously needed fuel in the form of coal. The fuel depots and their connection to international trade in coal over the sea or via the railway system helped to concentrate fishing in fewer and larger ports.
The logistics system that brought fuel to the ports was also important for transporting the catches out to consumers. Often only the supply side is highlighted when it comes to fishing. It is less often emphasized that it was not obvious for consumers inland to buy fish simply because it became more readily available and cheaper than before.
Fishing was an industry that was significantly changed by industrialization at the same time as a notion was built up that the current fishing in Scandinavia was created without the influence of companies, financial markets or state aid. In my research, on the history of fishing and especially the period when steam power, company formations and state support for fishing became important factors in Scandinavian fishing, I hope to be able to challenge this notion.
Fishing in the three Scandinavian countries has certain similarities but also significant differences in terms of the introduction of different components of what has emerged earlier in British fishing. In this paper, the three countries will be compared on the basis of both previous research and processing of fisheries statistics. (Show less)