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Fish, Law, and Colonialism

Fish, Law, and Colonialism: The Legal Capture of Salmon in British Columbia

Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Fish, Law, and Colonialism
    Book Description:

    An engrossing history, Fish, Law, and Colonialism recounts the human conflict over fish and fishing in British Columbia and of how that conflict was shaped by law.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7491-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-13)

    This is a study of human conflict over fish in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century British Columbia, and of how that conflict was shaped by law. Put another way, it is a study of competing legal cultures in a shared time and place, and of how they produced a conflict over fish. People caught fish, creating a fishery, and defined that fishery with a collection of rights of use and exclusion – with law. Whether the emphasis is placed on fish or on law matters little. Law gathered around a fishery that it, in part, created. When one fishery sought to replace...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Legal Capture
    (pp. 14-78)

    These comments in 1872 from H.L. Langevin, the Minister of Public Works for the Dominion of Canada, were part of the first report to the Parliament of Canada on the state of British Columbia′s fisheries. Canning operations had just appeared on the Fraser River, and Langevin was an enthusiastic promoter of the industry. Salmon, herring, sturgeon, oolican, and other species were plentiful, the resource was underdeveloped, and if only a few more fishing-minded immigrants would arrive on the coast, he argued, the wealth of the province could begin to be realized.² That wealth lay not in the gold that had...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Fish Weirs and Legal Cultures on Babine Lake, 1904-1907
    (pp. 79-126)

    At the end of the fishing season in 1904 the Department of Marine and Fisheries removed the fish weirs on the Babine River near the outflow of Babine Lake. This was the last year that the weirs would fully operate, and in comparison to the protracted dispute over the Cowichan weirs (discussed in the following chapter), the confrontation on Babine Lake burned brightly for three years and was gone. It was a shorter and, in many ways, a simpler dispute. The canneries operating near the mouth of the Skeena River needed a secure supply of fish, and the weirs on...

  7. CHAPTER THREE The Law Runs Through It: Weirs, Logs, Nets, and Fly Fishing on the Cowichan River, 1877-1937
    (pp. 127-185)

    In contrast to the transparent efforts of capital and state to eliminate the Lake Babine weir fisheries and to capture the Skeena sockeye runs, the conflict over fish weirs on the Cowichan River demonstrates the complexity of a continuing colonial encounter and of the role of law in shaping that encounter. Spread over sixty years, while a settler society established its control and the Cowichan people struggled to retain some control, the dispute over weirs reveals state law both as an instrument of colonial power and as an avenue, albeit limited, of resistance. The Canadian state sought control of the...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Law and Colonialism
    (pp. 186-216)

    ′Colonialism′ describes the processes of military, economic, and cultural domination employed by a state to bring territory and people within its sphere of control. It involves the transfer of cultural and economic institutions from one society to another, and results in the appropriation of land and resources. Sometimes colonialism leads to colonization, the more or less systematic settlement of the territory by members of the colonizing society and the eventual transfer of authority to the settler society. In other circumstances, the imperial state maintains administrative control, extracting resources and labour but not encouraging settlement, and eventually withdraws, leaving a transformed...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 217-270)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 271-292)
  11. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 293-294)
  12. Index
    (pp. 295-306)