Sunnfjord experienced strong growth in local production as the spring herring fisheries increased sharply in the 1850s. The fishing was the basis for an increasing maritime adaptation. This showed itself in different ways for the inner and outer parts of coastal Sunnfjord. For the outer areas, the maritime adaptation was a prerequisite for making a living, because agriculture was incapable of feeding the population. In the inner areas the conditions for agriculture were better, and the increasing adaptation was triggered by increased opportunity for earnings in the fishery. The spring herring fishery here was more an incentive for adaptation than a necessity. The traditional system of provisioning the fishermen, organised by merchants in Bergen, was a prerequisite for such a maritime adaptation in the 1850s. The general liberalisation of trade, and especially the rise of local markets for fresh herring, contributed to the dissolution of the traditional system during the 1860s. The traditional system was utilised in the pioneer phase, particularly in areas that were not dependent on grain imports, but was unable to maintain its hold as increasing competition and in due course a decline in the resource base, led to altered patterns of activity.