International commercial fishing in Northwest Atlantic waters dates back to the discovery of the rich cod resources off Newfoundland by John Cabot in 1497. His famous quote was:
... and they affirm that the sea is covered with fish which are caught not merely with nets but with baskets, a stone being attached to make the baskets sink with the water .... and thus I heard the said Zoane Cabot relate.
John Cabot, n.d.
John Cabot in the Matthew off Cape Bonavista in 1497.
Painting by C. Dinsmore.
From J. R. Smallwood, ed., The Book of Newfoundland, Vol. 2 (St. John's: Newfoundland Book Publishers, 1937).
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