Fishermen farmers that go way back

The first people settled on Dyrön more than 3,000 years ago. On the western part of the island, a Stone Age village has been located in a valley between bare mountains. The remains of a Bronze Age cairn on a high mountain in the west show that people were living here a long time ago. All the arable land later used by the island’s fish farmers, was under water at this time.

The first inhabitant of Dyrön in modern time, as mentioned in old documents, was Engelbrekt in 1566. Peder Tügge at Diuröö is mentioned in the tax registry of 1567. At that time, Dyrön was a crown property whose user paid tax to “the vicar and the crown landlord bailiff”.

Two farmers bought the island from the crown on 2 September 1743. Anders Nilsson and Jon Jonsson Green paid 43 daler silver coins for Dyrön and the uninhabited island Norra Åstol.

In 1747, the most extensive herring period in Bohuslän’s history began. It ended in 1808. During this time fishing became of great importance and fishermen and beachers quickly populated Åstol. This island had an outstanding natural harbour and the fjord was full of herring shoals. Fish oil boilers, salteries and coopers were all over. Fish nets was borrowed or purchased, boats were built and prosperity increased.

The Dyrön island had no real harbour, as the agriculture and livestock farming still was the main industry on the island. When the herring disappeared from Bohuslän, poverty made an impact. Even though Dyrön with its farmers did better than many others, the “sweet bread days” were over. As the land no longer was adequate enough to support the whole population, old traditional fishing became increasingly important. In 1885, 35% of Dyrön’s population were fishermen. At the turn of the century, there were four big open fishing boats and four herring teams.

Oscar II inaugurated the much-anticipated North Harbour, the first port in Sweden built with state support, on September 2, 1902. Until the 1960s, fishing became increasingly prominent. In the early 70’s there were 12 herring fishing boats here. But as the herring more or less disappeared, the fishing boundaries were expanded and today there are only a few fishermen with Dyrön as homeport.