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The natives ate fish too, so they would have seen that as well. I recall reading about it in this book:

http://amzn.to/1kJ7A0G




I've seen comments every which way about "Collapse", so I looked for something that was a bit more directly from the literature and found http://www.yale.edu/ycei/arcticworkshop/background-reading/D... . Quoting first from p.7 then p.6 (emphasis mine):

> The development and expansion of the trade in dried Atlantic cod around 1100 AD was to have widespread economic impacts throughout Europe, which probably did not work to the advantage of the Norse Greenlanders who did little if any fishing. ...

> Details of these Norse strategies of caribou and common seal conservation in Greenland are unclear but we may speculate that it was part of a conscious effort to conserve resilience and flexibility by underwriting the farming economy based on imported stock and the long distance Norðursetur hunt for trade goods. In late medieval and early modern Iceland elements of resilience thinking in a context of recurring labor shortage may be embedded in restrictions on sea fishing. In order to undertake fishing, farm ownership was required, and the development of fishing camps unsupported by agriculture was legally discouraged. The rationale was that fishing alone could not ensure a certain livelihood, and when it failed there would be a burden of poor relief on the wider community if those fishing did not have farming as well. In other words; specialization that could produce a greater short term yield was discouraged because it could potentially compromise the resilience of the wider community through burdens of support during times of fishery failure. Similar rationale may have stood behind the apparent absence of specialized sealing stations in Norse Greenland and the failure to develop substantial fisheries. Despite the growing role of seals in subsistence, even small farms maintained substantial flocks of sheep and goats and at least a few cows- this was a multi-stranded economy which spread risks and coordinated labor on a community scale rather than specialized, individualized subsistence system. Its major limitations were in its inability to accumulate multi-year surplus in the absence of cereal agriculture and the resulting recurring problem of matching high seasonal communal labor requirements with year-round provisioning limits.


Ah, I guess I'll have to read that over again. I recall Diamond suggesting that they for some reason didn't adopt practices from the Inuits(?), like sealing, kayaks, etc, as the climate got colder after the medieval warm period, but I don't remember anything about them not fishing.




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