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Medieval fishermen set sail due to decline in freshwater fish

A new study suggests that medieval fishermen first took to the open seas in about AD 1,000 due to a sharp decline in large freshwater fish.

Dr Barrett observed: “At the end of the first millennium AD there is this wholesale shift in emphasis from reliance on freshwater fish towards marine species.”

“It is not rocket science, it is just literally looking at the proportion of species that are obligatory freshwater ones, such as pike… and which ones are obligatory sea fish, such as cod and herring.”

As for understanding what caused the shift, Dr Barratt said that it would be inappropriate to attempt to identify a single cause.

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