The Rise and Fall of the Bristol Channel Herring Fishery with Especial Reference to Porlock, Somerset, 1580-1830

By Philip Ashford, published February 2006

Abstract

Herring were fished commercially in the Bristol Channel, including from Porlock, until the early years of the twentieth century. This essay presents an historical overview of the industry, with special attention to its peak during the period of 1660-1740, and argues that the throughout northern Europe the enormous fluctuation in herring catches and their sudden disappearance were caused by herring shoals following the plankton that provided their food, a phenomenon repeated in the Bristol Channel beginning in the late eighteenth century and leading to the demise of the herring fishery in the early twentieth.

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Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

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