|Starving in a Sea of Seafood!
"So rude is their tackle and so fragile and liable to be upset are their primitive boats or coracles, made of wickerwork over which sail cloth is stretched, that they can only venture to sea in fine weather and thus, with food almost in sight, the people starve"-James H. Tuke, 1846
This page will explore how a people could starve when located within a sea filled with abundant food resources. How did culture contribute? What about cultural dietary taboos? What about cooperation vs. competition of fishermen? As usual there are many facets for discussion. More will appear here soon! Let us know your suggestions!
In her famous work The Great Hunger Cecil Woodham-Smith responds to this issue with a environmental determinism which pits strong and determined fishermen against an all powerful sea and cliffs. There is little background provided to demonstrate that the government's opinions of Irish fishermen were not based upon hard fact-that as her account of the Claddagh fishermen demonstrates Irish fishermen were a class unto themselves and extremely hard to deal with-even in the face of famine. Woodham Smith does expose significant cultural concerns which do indicate that "fisherman culture" was a factor as strong as those of the environment in the limitation of efficient exploitation of the resources of the sea.
My comments are inserted into Woodham-Smith's account click here
In 1833 the Royal Commission chaired by Archbishop Whately recommended that the government should promote economic development by developing the fisheries this suggestion was not in keeping with the political philosophy of the time and was rejected.
Menu of Famine Issues:
Sea of Fish
Failure to Utilize
Cultural or Logistical
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