When did human beings begin to eat fish?
Early humans may have understood instinctively that fish constituted a beneficial food. There are lots of reasons for this. 1 reason, which no one could have been likely to articulate until recent times, is that fish require a less elaborate skeleton compared to land animals because their weight is supported by the water where they reside, providing them more flesh regarding body weight.
They are therefore an excellent Origin of low-fat protein. (Incidentally, not all species of fish have accurate, bony skeletons. The category of certain critical groups, particularly sharks and rays, as “non-bony” suggest that they have a skeleton of cartilaginous material, not bone.)
There are other ways that fish are unique among the categories of food. They constitute by far the biggest resource of wild food in the whole world. Second, the massive number of species of edible fish distinguishes them from other foods. Not even the citizens of Norway.
Singapore (the top two nations worldwide in per-capita consumption) could hope to sample them all.
Additionally, humanitarian Considerations are applied only rarely and selectively to fish and other marine or freshwater animals, in contrast to the land animals (especially mammals) and birds.
Right, it’s recently become Unseemly for anybody except the Inuit (Inuits) to consume marine mammals, and concern is occasionally shown the way to kill lobsters and crabs; but compassion seldom goes fishing. Nonetheless, there might be a gradual change of attitude on this issue; indeed, the very first signals have already emerged of efforts to include fish in “animal rights.”
This last point would match in With the reverence that in many cultures were accorded to fish, and with the symbolic significance, they’ve enjoyed. It’s common knowledge that a fish was the first symbol of Christianity, that many disciples of Jesus were assassinated, and that some of his best-known miracles included fish in addition to bread and wine.
In different religions and cultures, to fish have had a particular location. In ancient Egypt and elsewhere, fish were sacrificed for the gods. They may also take on the role of “scapegoats” or sin-bearers. Thus, in the old Assyria people gathered on New Year’s Day by a river or stream and, if they discovered some fish, took this as an omen for the expiation of individual sins, and cast their garments on the water for the fish to keep away, and their sins with them.
Fish may also be used, in Babylon and classical Rome, for auguries and oracular responses, based on a study of the movements. But it was in Christian cultures the religious function of fish resulted in practical consequences. In medieval times the requirement for fish, aroused by the Christian Church’s insistence on meatless days, together with the realisation that abundant stocks of fish like cod existed in northern waters, aroused voyages of exploration and the development of techniques for fishing in distant waters.
So, at least in Europe, fisheries and trade in fish took a new turn since the medieval period started. Northerly peoples like the Scandinavians emerged from relative obscurity. The powerful Hanseatic League centred on the Baltic Sea was based to a substantial extent on its near monopoly of this trade in salted and dried fish; those fish came from the big stocks of the North Atlantic. Indeed, the subsequent colonisation of North America was aroused some would say mainly a result of the search for ever more efficient means of exploiting these stocks and from the rivalry between the maritime powers for them.
The effects of this activity are still with us. The salted and dried cod of medieval times survives today as an important article of trade, under Scandinavian names like klippfisk. In many regions of the world people who have better means of preserving fish, mainly freezing, continue to consume those products as they’ve acquired a taste for them. The same applies to the renowned lutefisk which Swedes, by way of instance, devotedly eat at Christmas despite all the bother involved in preparing it. It applies to a lot of sorts of treated fish, including the hundred and one kinds of cured herring like kippers and bloaters, red herring and rollmops.
The same applies to the renowned lutefisk which Swedes, by way of instance, devotedly eat at Christmas despite all the bother involved in preparing it. It applies to a lot of sorts of treated fish, including the hundred and one kinds of cured herring like kippers and bloaters, red herring and rollmops.
All this action implies a Recognition of seafood as a valuable food resource. Indeed, in the Orient, the Chinese have a consistent record, stretching back for at least four thousand years, of comprehending that the nutritional (and often the medical) worth of most seafood, as well as honouring fish. Bernard Read in his invaluable “Chinese Materia Medica” opinions that:
Due to its creative abilities, in China, the fish Is a sign of regeneration. As fish are reputed to swim in pairs, so a couple of seafood is symbolic of connubial bliss. As in water fish move quickly in any way they symbolise freedom from all restraints, so from the Buddha-state the thoroughly emancipated understand no limitations or struggles. Their scaly armour makes them a sign of martial attributes, bringing courage and strength; and swimming against the present provides a symbol of perseverance. The fish is a symbol of prosperity or wealth and prosperity since they’re so plentiful in the seas and rivers.
In the Western world, however, Attitudes are more ambivalent. Even though the fish was a symbol of Christianity and prescribed as Lenten fare, opinions were split on its own merits, even on its suitability, like food. In Britain, by way of instance, the evidence of eighteenth-century cookbooks indicates increased intake of fresh fish in the ocean, but the literature of Dietetics reveals a countervailing present among some medical authorities.
As recently as 1835 the Respected author of a manual on “modern domestic medicine” announced that fish “affords, upon the whole, but little nourishment, and is, for the most part, of hard digestion, and this seems to be the general belief of intelligent medical men.
” One writer even devoted a Lengthy book to arguing that the underlying reason for leprosy has been “the consumption of fish in a state of commencing decomposition.” These examples remind us that it’s only in the present century that chicken has been thoroughly accepted in the West as a good source of nutrition. More specifically, it’s only in recent decades the significance of fish oils for health has been fully understood.
The popularity of seafood as a valuable article in the diet has led to a flowering of books devoted to fish cookery. The prominence given by authors and from the media generally to fish as food, particularly in the English-speaking planet, is a new phenomenon that has its impact on demand.
The question arises: what are The prospects for supplies of seafood, and will they be adequate for the growing world population? There are many considerations involved here. Perhaps the most crucial are the growth of aquaculture. Colin E. Nash has revealed that there’s an abundance of evidence from ancient sources in Egypt, China, and the Mediterranean area to demonstrate how the first origins of this industry led long ago to relatively complex practices.
In classical Rome, as an instance, there were numerous vivaria (fish tanks), which served in part as status symbols for the wealthy but were essentially devoted to the production of food. Later, from the early Middle Ages onwards, fishponds became nearly ubiquitous in Europe, especially in association with religious institutions such as monasteries.
It doesn’t need the genius to Perceive the advantages, and it’s not surprising that there’s an ancient and powerful tradition of constructing and stocking fishponds in Asia too. These, naturally, are for freshwater fish, mainly carp and (more recently) tilapia.
But even in classical Rome, There were vivaria for marine species and progress was being made in using saltwater lagoons and suitable pieces of estuaries to make enclosures where selfish could be raised to adulthood.
Carol Déry has demonstrated That the Romans had progressed amazingly much in this type of action, perhaps further than modern people until the final quarter of the twentieth century. Now, however, the pace is accelerating. Techniques for raising salmon in sea lochs or similar environments and for addressing the attendant risks (pollution, infections, etc. .some) are always some species involved
A number of species involved is growing as trials demonstrate that more and more could be successfully brought to marketable size in protected surroundings. Atlantic cod are being increased in Norwegian fjords, catfish are brought up in “farms” in the southern states of the USA, etc. The future looks promising.
In terms of the sea fisheries, it’s Hard to be both optimistic, since numerous fishing grounds are currently being exploited up to and beyond the sustainable limits, and a few stocks, for example, cod from the north-west Atlantic, have already been overfished to the point of extinction.
Politics enter in the matter In a major way. To put it rather mildly, not everybody in the fishing sector is ready to sacrifice short-term profits for long-term advantages. The exact same is applicable to consumers, and it is important that in the start of the present century a new global organisation, the Marine Stewardship Council, set about establishing a broad group of Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fisheries. A system of “eco-labelling” is recommended, whereby particular labels will indicate to people buying fish if these are from an endangered source or not.
Progress may be slow but it is Being made, and there’s one comforting thought. People are now better equipped Than ever before to crop the waters, and better educated about the ways Where harvests can safely be maximised.