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Living the Fishing

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'It's no fish ye're buying - it's men's lives', wrote Sir Walter Scott, and looking at the fishing industry in Scotland in the last century involves a vivid recreation of the hard life of the isolated fishing communities, their work and their family life.

I must confess to a liking for the sea. A glimpse of a cluster of brightly-painted fishing boats moored against a stone quay catches my heart in a way that ruined hilltop fortifications can never quite match. And certainly the years of research for Living the Fishing (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983) have taken me to some unforgettable places, not only in this country, but on the Atlantic coasts of Newfoundland and Norway too. All the same I would want to insist at once that I took up the history of fishing communities for quite different reasons, and the more I have studied them, the more convinced I have become that what we can learn from them is of the widest possible interest. 

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