The Fishing Sector in the Atlantic Oceanic Islands and its Role in the Economy of the Canarian Archipelago under the Ancien Régime

By Juan Manuel Santana-Pérez & Germán Santana-Pérez, published May 2021

Abstract

Commercial fishing has played a critical role in the economy of the different islands of the Atlantic Ocean and those in the Canarian Archipelago in particular. In fact, one of the motives behind the European colonization of the Canaries was to exploit the fishing grounds of the Saharan Bank to satisfy part of the nutritional needs of a European population in constant expansion from the late Middle Ages. Fishing in the Canary Islands between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries was essential as it served both an internal and an external market, and was a key factor in the development of the Canarian economy. During the Ancien Régime, the mobilization of people and resources in the fishing sector produced protein for a growing population. The fishing industry therefore offered a highly profitable protein-rich product at a low price. Although fishermen from a number of European countries, notably France, England and Peninsular Spain, fished the oceanic waters around the Canary Islands, most of this activity was carried out by Canarians.

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Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

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