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Overfishing in the North Sea … in 1882

By Gary Bogue
Monday, May 5th, 2008 at 8:45 am in Boats, Fish, Fishing.

I was on vacation last week in Germany with my wife, Lois.

While there, Lois and I were fortunate to have a chance to visit the marvelous and monstrous Deutsches Museum in Munich. Whole floors of this beautiful and outstanding science and technology museum (eat your heart out, Smithsonian) were devoted to Aerospace, Aviation, Shipping, Energy & Power, Chemistry, the Environment, etc., etc.

While exploring a room full of old hand-powered and wind-powered wooden fishing vessels, we came across a display showing the transition from small fishing boats powered by sails … to small fishing boats powered by steam. Interesting.

Even more interesting is this written excerpt from the display of a 30-foot wooden fishing boat that had been outfitted with a small steam engine to replace its sails:

“ … in 1882, the use of fishing steamers led to overfishing of the North Sea and profits dropped … ”

Think about it.

That was in 1882 … 126 years ago. /Gary

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One Response to “Overfishing in the North Sea … in 1882”

  1. Karen Says:

    What’s really brain-bending is that the introduction of engines simply changed an extremely hazardous occupation (fishing) into a very hazardous occupation.

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