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FISHing Ancient Reasons to address current Concerns


Europe’s pristine marine fisheries probably originated in estuarine biotopes rather than on the open shore, while many of what we now consider offshore species were also originally denizens of much shallower waters. These new data do not emerge from traditional historical data, such as landing records, but from a less conventional source: zooarchaeolo-gy. This archaeological data also suggests that estuarine fish were particularly vulnerable to fishing pressure. Through the analysis of pre-historic, historic and modern fish remains from the Iberian Peninsula, FISHARC will explore (1) the origin and evolution of fishing activities in the Northeast Atlantic, and (2) their impacts on fish biodiversity, behaviour and ecology through time and space, with a particular focus on the commercially import species of cod and hake. The project will pair the zooarchaeological expertise of Laura Llorente-Rodríguez, with the state-of-the art biomolecular facil-ities of the BioArCh at the University of York, to 1) develop new molecular methods for accurate fish species identifica-tion; and 2) apply new stable isotope approaches to examine human impacts on the biogeography, trophic level and pop-ulation structure of North Atlantic cod and hake through time. This project will explore a unique source of cultural, ecological and environmental data preserved in archaeological record to generate invaluable baseline data on pre-industrial fish population levels immediately applicable to marine conservation and management issues.

KEYWORDS: fishing origin, fishing evolution, Norhteast Atlantic, ichtyoarchaeology, ecological baselines


Net EU contribution
€ 183 454,80
YO10 5DD York North Yorkshire
United Kingdom

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Yorkshire and the Humber North Yorkshire York
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 183 454,80