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Today in Labour History

24 June 1781
Engraving by Matthias de Sallieth (1781)
Source: NEHA Bijz Col 568B-3a

Herring Fishing

Since 1593 June 24 has been the traditional start of the Dutch herring fishing season. This was because the life cycle of the herring had reached its best quality halfway through the year. Maintaining an official start date for all fishers prevented unfair competition and marketing of immature, poor quality herring.

Tax had to be paid for all herring brought in by fishers. The records of these taxes enable us to measure the herring harvest in past centuries. In 1778, the year the drawing for this print was made, there was a mediocre harvest of 5,104 units (or 51 million fish).
 

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