Fisheries and other marine uses have always been of paramount importance for the people of the North. Some of the largest fish stocks and also largest fisheries in the world are at the boundaries of the arctic and subarctic world. This is where species such as cod, salmon, pollock, herring and capelin are found in abundance. Further north the fish species get fewer and less numerous, but are nevertheless extremely important as a source of income and food for the people of the far north. Almost as to make up for that, the importance of marine mammals also increases as we go further north. We deal with those on another page.
The northerners are of course not only fishing for themselves or their own society. The prime importance of the fisheries is to supply valuable proteins to the fish-poorer south and in turn get income for the people of the north to buy things such as gadgets and clothes from the south.
It has even been claimed that the rural north did support urbanization in the south with fish proteins and by lighting the cities with oil from whales and Greenland shark. This oil also originally provided lubrication of machinery in the industrial revolution.
Marine resources have of course been used in the North since the first people came there. But large scale commercial fisheries for trade probably began in northern Norway in the 12th or 13th century. Later it spread to the Faroes and Iceland in the 14th century. Then commercial fisheries went across the Atlantic to Newfoundland in the 16th century. But large scale commercial fisheries only began of Greenland and in the northern North Pacific in the 20th century.
The northern fisheries are therefore important globally and will hopefully continue to supply valuable nutrition for locals as well as for the people of the south. This web site is on these northern fisheries and other northern marine resources.