Although the fur trade was the main economic activity in New France, many people were involved in cod fishing. In fact, the first people to travel to New France were fishermen. They came to catch fish off the coasts of Newfoundland, which they brought back to Europe to sell. Fishing did not benefit the colony because the fish were sold in Europe and the fishermen did not settle in New France.
A European technique
Unlike the Native people who caught fish for their own consumption, the Europeans caught fish to sell. That means they needed to catch a lot of fish. So that the fish wouldn’t go bad during the long trip back to Europe, the fishermen first brought the fish ashore, where they would empty, clean and dry it. This made the fish last much longer. It was still good when it was sold in France one or even two months later.
Settlements in the Maritimes
Fishing began in the region around Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, and has continued there to this day. Do you know if the people who live in this area now still fish for a living? Are there any fish left after 350 years?
See also – Traces of the past:
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