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The History of Looe

The coastal sea-town of Looe can be found in the South-East of Cornwall and is divided by the River Looe into East and West Looe. Although connected by a bridge, Looe eventually developed as two completely separated towns with their own members of parliament and mayors. The first recorded mention of the two boroughs came from a charter granted by King Henry II giving his favour to Sir Henry Bodrugan as the Mayor of East Looe.

Looe has a rich history that can be traced back as early as 1000 BC, with archaeological excavations uncovering an ancient hill and the aptly-named ‘Giant’s Hedge’ which is a seven-mile route that follows an ancient boundary wall very popular with tourists today. The houses constructed in ancient Looe were designed to minimise losses against frequent, severe flooding which is still common today, the houses were constructed with the living quarters upstairs and storage for boats and fishing equipment at the lower level – these are nick-named ‘fishermen’s cellars’.

Ancient Looe thrived as a busy port and was a key player in the fishing and boatbuilding industries, with the textile industry even playing a key role in the town’s history due to its trade and transport links. However, the history is not all good, with pirates ravaging the town in 1625 and kidnapping and enslaving over eighty fisherman – most of the inhabitants were able to escape, however the whole town was torched in flames. As the Victorian era came, so did the penchant for seaside holidays, which helped to elevate Looe as a tourist town leading to multiple hotels and tourist attractions and facilities being built. As travel became more available to the masses, tourism grew, and this effect created in the Victorian era still resonates with modern day Looe now.

Modern Day Looe

Looe has remained a fishing town through to today, with several fleets of fishing boats leaving the port daily and coming back with catch that has a reputation for being particularly fresh and tasty. Whilst fishing obviously plays a key part in the town, Looe relies on its main source of income coming from tourism, with pubs, restaurants and ships taking over the majority of the town. There are multiple attractions in and around Looe, including; the Woolly Monkey Sanctuary, luxurious beaches, water activities, and numerous coastal walks.

Looe and the New Year

Surprisingly, this small seaside town has actually been named as the one of the top 10 places to ring in the New Year in the UK and was even ranked third on the list in the years 2007-2008. This is due to the fact that there is a long-standing tradition, which the inhabitants started, of dressing up in fancy dress and taking to the streets to revel and party together. This tradition has grown over the years as tourists flock to the town to take part, the crowds start the celebrations in the centre of the town and throughout the evening make their way over to the seafront for the scheduled fireworks display which is timed to ring in the New Year.

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What Does the Future Hold for the Seafood Industry?

Due to the popularity and high demand for seafood it is inevitable that there will be an end, the levels of fishing that take place today cannot continue forever, and there are many global problems that will change the landscape of seafood for the worse. All of the issues analysed below have led research to believe that we could reach a global seafood crisis – as in no fish available at all – by only 2048! It is abundantly clear that the state and future of seafood will alter dramatically over the next few decades unless real change can be implemented.

The Sustainability of Seafood

Overfishing is a real problem and has been for many centuries, but it is only within the last three decades that the issue has been brought to light and people made aware of the severity and impact that overfishing is having on the world. The practice essentially means that a particular species is fished at a rate faster than their natural reproduction, so if that rate continued then that particular species would become extinct. Unfortunately, mankind has become so reliant on fish as a high source of protein and nutrition that the demand is always rising, making the practice of fishing very profitable for huge corporations, therefore more must be done about making people more aware of sustainable seafood, and the benefits that seeking out this product has. The Marine Conversation Society works very hard to ensure the longevity of our ocean life and have a simple tool on their site which enables the user to check on the sustainability level of a fish, rated green as good, through to red as bad. You can view their descriptions, ratings – and reasons for ratings – for 158 different species of fish on the website which they hope will help people make the choice about which fish they should purchase. These ratings are also used by the industry, restaurants and supermarkets, as these will be the key decision makers who can make a real difference. They have done research to analyse the packaging of all fish fingers to test how they are conveying the sustainability of their fish, with the following results:

Overfishing is not the only contributor to this major issue, global warming has led to an increase in the ocean’s average temperature – with no signs of slowing down, this has and will continue to have a massive impact on the sea life inhabiting these oceans. Another contributing factor is yet another man-made problem, and that is recycling, for years human-kind have dumped plastic and other non-bio-degradable materials into the ocean to the detriment of sea life. There are global initiatives in place, but many believe that the damage caused is already too great and we will never get the oceans back to their ideal state.

Finally, rising global population is one more point that has a clear impact on seafood. Quite simply, with more mouths to feed there will be less food to go around, unless efforts are made to look for other sources of nutrition. As many developing countries rely on seafood as a major source of protein and nutrition it is important that the first world countries take the responsibility and bring a solution that will create a world of sustainable sea food, with the food available to those who need it most.

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History of Seafood

As the famous saying goes, ‘give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.’ The fame and use of this old Chinese proverb just show the importance of seafood in cultures across the globe. Since mankind taught themselves how to fish, seafood has been a staple and favourite of the human diet – and with so many different types of seafood and ways to prepare the food, the possibilities are almost endless.

Ancient History

Seafood has been in abundance in our oceans since the beginning of time and humans began to harvest and eat Seafood very early on. Although the hunter-gatherer rarely stayed in one place for long due to survival needs, being near a source of fish would always have been a consideration as it was a relatively easy method for sustenance. Archaeological evidence found in South Africa dating back over 160,000 years ago proves that man was consuming seafood this long ago, and analysis of human remains 40,000 years old from Asia highlight that they were consistency consuming seafood too. More evidence can be found by looking at the remains of Ancient Egypt, drawings and documents show the Egyptians regularly fished and had developed tools and methods, with the river Nile being full of fresh fish there is even evidence that fishing was a hobby way back in these times as well. Ancient civilizations also knew how to make the most out of Seafood and would use the remaining bones for a multitude of purposes including; jewellery, decoration and writing implements.

The history of seafood in England is slightly different, with seafood being seeing as a lesser alternative to meat during the Medieval times – feasts were very much centred around beef and pork, with fish as a side-dish. This was very different around the coastal areas, which makes sense as seafood would be much fresher tasting here as it would have taken days to transport to the landlocked counties. Having said this, eating fish fresh was not the only way it was consumed, large amounts of the consumed fish would have been salted or dried and sometimes smoked, which would have meant it could travel far and wide.

Japanese History of Seafood

Japan has a rich culture of seafood that is steeped in History – being very famous for Sushi, the origins of how this increasingly popular dish developed are very interesting. In ancient Japan fish was preserved in fermented rice, the Japanese would then discard the rice and eat the fish, which was an integral staple of the diet. Later this dish developed so that the rice could be consumed with the fish at the same time, vinegar and vegetables were added to the rice for taste and became the base for the Sushi that is consumed today. Different regions would develop new and exciting combinations of flavours which helped to shape the state of seafood consumption in Japan for hundreds of years, with hundreds of varieties available – a list of the most popular can be found here.