use of the individual’s share of the year’s quota held by the
guild, but the quota itself is the guild’s property. The values
thus remain the guild’s, and they are therefore available for
the young people of today who want to start up as fishermen
and for the future generations which will carry on fishing
from the town.
The article describes the considerations underlying the
guild’s organisation and the consequences this has had for
Thorupstrand. This coastal landing place is, for example, the
only fishing town in Denmark to have increased its number
of boats and fishermen after the political enclosure decision
was taken. Before the guild was formed, the Thorupstrand
fishermen took the initiative in a nationwide resistance mo-
vement among the coastal fishermen. This popular move-
ment was supported by the entire political opposition in the
Danish parliament in demanding exemption from the priva-
tisation of Denmark’s fishing quotas for the coastal high va-
lue fishery. When the fight to protect the share fishermen’s
right to catch was lost at the political level, the fishermen
of Thorupstrand went to war and formed their own guild,
and received solid support from the area’s two banks which
lent them over 30 million kroner to buy up quotas so that
the area could keep its fishing business. The guild has since
repeatedly increased its borrowing and is still buying more
quota shares. Six young fishermen joined the guild in Janu-
ary 2008, and the guild is still undergoing further economic
consolidation with the ongoing price increases for quotas
- a price increase which, on the other hand, makes it impos-
sible for young people to become established as fishermen
without immediately incurring a hopeless debt. Their only
alternative is to become employees in the groups which are
speculating in major buy-ups of quotas and establishment
of the few companies which will own whatever is left of the
fishing fleet. This competition between two new modes of
production in Danish fishing is helping to increase the two
parties’ awareness of and pride in their own life-modes and
its contrast with the other side’s.
To ensure the trades necessary for the coastal fishery, the
fishermen, together with the area’s tradesmen and others at
the landing places, have formed the association Han Her-
red Havbåde (Han Herred Sea Boats). Together with Tho-
rupstrand, the boat association was started by people in the
former coastal landing place Lildstrand to the west and the
former Slettestrand landing place to the east. Like a clover-
leaf, the three fishing communities have joined forces to
save their old boats from the scrap heap, restore them and
build new ones so that there will still be active fleets at all
three places. This partnership has formed a basis on which
the association has started a boatbuilding workshop at Slet-
testrand and is now gathering strength and money to erect a
modern boatbuilder’s yard where the area’s last boatbuilder
can teach his trade to a new generation and build new ves-
sels for both the coastal fishermen and for others who would
like to sail in the coast’s lapstrake boats. The workshop is
open to guests, and everybody is welcome to visit the boat-
builder’s yard and follow construction of the types of boats
which have been created and maintained for over a thousand
years on the north coast of Jutland. In future, Han Herred
Havbådes website,
, will also carry texts
in English to enable a wider audience to follow the associa-
tion’s activities.
METTE JUUL er nået over inderste revle og ind i den dybe ”kiel”
langs land, hvor der en dag som denne løber en rivende strøm fra
vest ned mod høfden i øst. Foto: Jan Olsen.
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