The catch and the market The waters of the northern seas are particularly rich in aquatic life, and have attracted the gatherer and hunter since human beings first moved northwards after the retreating ice. The wide variety of fish bones and shells found on Stone Age rubbish tips indicate that what they caught was in all likelihood consumed fresh and on the spot. The fruits of the sea soon decay: although keeping fish fresh and wholesome in pre-refrigeration days was not impossible, it was costly, and often disastrously unreliable. Existing and potential customers are easily put off by the smell of stale fish. From the time the catch is hauled on board, there are many uncertainties before it is served up. Fishing is in all respects a risky venture, demanding resourcefulness and adaptability to the whims of the market and the decrees and demands of governments as well as great skill (and luck, as all fishermen would claim) and courage.