1653Fishing for cod was well-established while mackerel was just starting to become part of the fishing industry.Economy and Industry, Maritime & Fishing Industry

Described as very abundant by the first explorers, cod was a mainstay of European fishermen because dried cod was marketable as an alternative to eating meat for Catholic Europeans, which the Church prohibited on Fridays and religious feast days. Mackerel was not pursued as much as cod because the catch was often smaller, its migration patterns were unpredictable and it was harder to preserve with salt. By the time mackerel became more desirable, the General Court restricted hauling it to shore by net or seines or catching it by hook before July in order to sustain the species and prevent interfering with the spawning season. By the 1820s, mackerel had become far more plentiful than cod in local waters with fishermen landing over 66,000 barrels in some years.

Pringle, James R. History of the Town and City of Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts. City of Gloucester Archives Committee and the Ten Pound Island Book Co., 1997. The Fisheries of Gloucester from the First Catch by the English in 1623, to the Centennial Year, 1876. Gloucester, Procter Brothers, 1876, http://archive.org/details/fisheriesofglouc00glourich
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