The recent complaints of fishermen and other Gulf of Mexico area residents about a heavy oil odor in the air which might be toxic, remind us of the other heavy, stubborn odor which presents no danger, only great unpleasantness - the odor of fish.
One could smell a fishing village before one could even see it. The fishing villages have a charm of their own if you could ignore the smell. Well, as a visitor , and only as a visitor, I could. After all, the smell is an integral part of the scenery and the daily life here. People have to utilize what nature offers them . In the areas near lakes, rivers, ponds, seas - the offer is Fish of all sorts and sizes and with... the smell of fish.
(At home, that's a different matter. I like to eat fish, but I dislike the smell and I cannot ignore it as it can stick around long after the 'mess' of cooking and eating is gone. I do my best to find ways to neutralize it. Natural acids like lemon and vinegar usually do the job. There are of course, commercial solutions ,such as enzymatic sprays, which could help if anything else fails).
All over the world the shores of water bodies are punctuated with traditional fishing villages, and the more modern ones, the recreational fishing villages that allow urban people to escape from the everyday rat race.
A half day trip from Amsterdam, Holland, brings you to the world famous historical fishing villages of Volendam and Marken on the coast of the former Zuidersee (now called Ljsselmeer). These villages have wooden little houses, old boats and traditional costumes that are still worn by the local people .
Things change slowly but surely in the fishing industry: the methods of catching the fish, cleaning, weighing, salting, drying, marketing it, the quality of the boats - all undergo processes of improvement , but... the fish smell with its unpleasantness remains a constant factor which permeats the whole place.
Maybe scientists are able , or will be able in the future to grow in artificial ponds, fish without the specific odour, just as they nowadays grow sabra fruit without the outer thorns or water melons and grapes without the inner seeds. It wouldn't taste the same though.
* The painting on top - "A fishing village in Newfoundland" by Sterling Edwards (click to enlarge it.)