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Fishing Places, Fishing People

Fishing Places, Fishing People: Traditions and Issues in Canadian Small-Scale Fisheries

Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 412
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  • Book Info
    Fishing Places, Fishing People
    Book Description:

    Using case studies drawn from across Canada, the papers demonstrate that there are many shared issues in the various small-scale fisheries of this country, and locate small-scale fisheries in their historical context as well as in that of global concerns.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7493-6
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. 1 Introduction: Traditions and Issues
    (pp. 3-12)

    This book tells a story of a range of fisheries and fishing communities across Canada. Using mainly a series of case studies from a wide range of disciplines, it examines the historical roots of different types of fishing communities: freshwater (riverine and lacustrine), marine (east and west coasts), including those in which fishing was a primary focus of settlement (as in Newfoundland), or a supplementary part of the economy (as in the ‘fur trade economy’), or an integral part of an indigenous culture and economy (as with the First Nations of coastal British Columbia and central Canada).

    This is not...

  5. Part One: Community Roots and Commerce

      (pp. 15-16)
      Rosemary E. Ommer

      Sure, we can study kings and princes,

      Watch the sweep of Empire catch

      Even this lonely Shore within its grasp:

      For dry men in old chambers

      Have copied it on parchment for our future eye.

      But if we seek to disembark,

      If we leave behind the merchant’s brig

      (Turn our backs upon her),

      Ask instead

      Of local men, of living and of dying on this Shore,

      Of cooks and servant girls

      And youngsters;

      If we seek to find

      The generations of the Strait;

      If we try to comprehend

      Their interwoven life and land and sea –

      Where is the charting...

    • 2 Rosie’s Cove: Settlement Morphology, History, Economy, and Culture in a Newfoundland Outport
      (pp. 17-31)

      I have lived in Newfoundland, give or take a few years ‘away,’ for a quarter of a century, and over that time I have come to appreciate the mostly unwritten yet still tangible history of the ordinary outport and its people. The outport does record its past, using the land, rather than the printed page, as its parchment. The story is there to see, if you know, or learn, what to look for – and the story is important. It is the basis of how things have come to be as they currently are: a concern that underpins much of...

    • 3 Familial and Social Patriarchy in the Newfoundland Fishing Industry
      (pp. 32-54)

      Feminist researchers have contributed to our contemporary understanding of fishery economies. They have critiqued the androcentrism of pre-1980 analyses and in doing so have introduced new concepts for analysing women’s active participation throughout fishery economies and the diverse gender relations and differing sexual divisions of labour that can be found within them. Feminist accounts have also challenged male anthropologists’ common assumption of universal patterns of male dominance and female passivity within fishing households and communities (Allison, Jacobs, and Porter 1989; Cole 1991; Nadel-Klein and Davis 1988; Neis 1988a; Porter 1983, 1985, 1993).

      For the Newfoundland fishing industry, Marilyn Porter (1985)...

    • 4 ‘The Water and the Life’: Family, Work, and Trade in the Commercial Poundnet Fisheries of Grand Bend, Ontario, 1890–1955
      (pp. 55-79)

      Lake Huron from Bayfield to Sarnia (Figure 4.1) once supported flourishing commercial fisheries that were differentiated in time and place by their capturing technologies – poundnets, gillnets, seines, and trapnets (Figure 4.2).¹ Yet from the perspective of social history, our knowledge of these once regionally significant fisheries remains obscure. For one thing, the historic administrative records of the federal and provincial fisheries departments are fragmentary and discontinuous.² For another, while existing finding aids and reference guides for important records concerning fisheries have survived, they are either incomplete or dedicated to selected archival holdings, making access difficult. With some notable exceptions...

    • 5 ‘Ould Betsy and Her Daughter’: Fur Trade Fisheries in Northern Ontario
      (pp. 80-96)

      Fishing was so important to most Aboriginal communities in central and western Canada that Aboriginal people sought protection for this aspect of their economies when negotiating land surrender treaties with Canada during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Each major numbered treaty contains clauses that granted Native people the right to fish in their customary ways, subject only to such regulations that the crown might impose from time to time for conservation purposes. As Euro-Canadian settlement spread into treaty areas, provincial and federal governments sought, in the name of conservation, to limit Aboriginal fishing and hunting rights to subsistence...

    • 6 Depletion by the Market: Commercialization and Resource Management of Manitoba’s Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), 1885–1935
      (pp. 97-120)

      Freshwater fisheries were crucial to Native societies in the subarctic before and during the fur trade (Holzkamm, Lytwyn, and Waisberg 1988; Lytwyn 1990; Ray, this volume; Tough 1984; Van West 1990). Lake sturgeon was one of the most important species harvested before and after European contact, and Manitoba’s fisheries were among the most productive in the subarctic. Cree and Ojibwa people conducted their main sturgeon fisheries near the spawning grounds in early summer and during the autumn river runs, and there is evidence that Cree at the north end of Lake Winnipeg also fished sturgeon in open water rapids in...

    • 7 ‘Overlapping Territories and Entwined Cultures’: A Voyage into the Northern BC Spawn-on-Kelp Fishery
      (pp. 121-144)

      Early in April 1992 I travelled to the Southern Tshimshian village of Kitkatla, British Columbia, to observe the annual commercial herring spawn-on-kelp harvest, whose essential requirements are laid down by the lucrative Japanese market for the product.¹ The Japanese are renowned for their preoccupation with, as one journalist put it, ‘ceremonial gestures that incorporate aesthetically beautiful cuisine,’ much of which is derived from seafoods such as herring spawn-on-kelp, which they consume as a traditional food calledKazunoko Konbu(Hanson 1992: 40). But for centuries, roe (eggs) or spawn (fertilized eggs) deposited on seaweed or other plant material on the northwestern...

  6. Part Two: State Management and States of Knowledge

    • 8 Failed Proposals for Fisheries Management and Conservation in Newfoundland, 1855–1880
      (pp. 147-169)

      The establishment of a moratorium in the eastern Canadian cod fishery in 1992 has stirred an old debate in Newfoundland about how cod (Gadus morhua) stocks should be conserved. Some fishing people fear that controlling effort by restricting the total number of people who can fish may overlook many people’s right to fish by ‘historic attachment’; others believe that they should be free to catch fish with any gear under strict regulations (Evening Telegram, St John’s, 1996). Should cod stocks then be protected by controlling the type of gear used or the number of people who fish? Underlying this question...

    • 9 An Ojibwa Community, American Sportsmen, and the Ontario Government in the Early Management of the Nipigon River Fishery
      (pp. 170-192)

      Current fishery laws throughout North America and in many other settler societies are antithetical to systems and technologies of Aboriginal fisheries, especially spearing, netting, and harvesting times. Recent court decisions about Aboriginal fisheries have, however, forced all levels of government in Canada to acknowledge Aboriginal harvesting prerogatives, rights, and needs, and many Ontario First Nations are preparing to assert these rights. Tensions mount as government bodies and non-Native commercial and sport fishers predict that Aboriginal control will destroy the fisheries.

      In 1991, the Hunting and Fishing Committee of the Opwaaganisining First Nation of the Nipigon River area, officially the Red...

    • 10 Estimating Historical Sturgeon Harvests on the Nelson River, Manitoba
      (pp. 193-216)

      Since the late nineteenth century, Indian fisheries on Canada’s northern lakes and rivers have frequently been disrupted by habitat destruction, depletion, pollution, and expropriation. Indians were unable to prevent these activities and for most of this period had no effective remedies for either the loss of harvest or the disruptive effects on their way of life, their communities, and their culture.

      One obstacle has been the lack of legal recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights to fish, and in particular the unwillingness of the courts to characterize harvesting rights as a form of property right that provides for defences against,...

    • 11 An Interdisciplinary Method for Collecting and Integrating Fishers’ Ecological Knowledge into Resource Management
      (pp. 217-238)

      Most of the world’s major fish stocks are overfished, many to the point of collapse (FAO 1989; Pauly, this volume). This situation has prompted debate concerning whether fisheries science and associated management, in their present forms, can provide a basis for the sustainable use of fishery resources (Rolling 1993; Ludwig, Hilborn, and Walters 1993; McCay and Acheson 1987; McGoodwin 1990; Rosenberg et al. 1993; Gallaugher and Vodden, Hutchings, Pinkerton, this volume).

      Some argue that finding ways to incorporate fishers’ participation would improve the capacity to manage fisheries sustainably. Researchers from many disciplinary backgrounds have argued that users’ traditional ecological knowledge...

    • 12 Groundfish Assemblages of Eastern Canada Examined over Two Decades
      (pp. 239-259)

      Fishing grounds of the world ocean are surveyed at least yearly, mainly for the purpose of assessing changes at the levels of individual commercial species or stocks. But very few have been approached from a multispecies perspective to detect possible variations at the community scale. In many cases the groundfish survey’s trawling techniques are not selective with regard to the target species, and the result is a catch of mixed species that can be quite useful for general scientific and ecological study. Such is the case for the continental shelves off eastern Canada, where sampling by non-selective trawls brings up...

    • 13 The Biological Collapse of Newfoundland’s Northern Cod
      (pp. 260-275)

      The sustainability of communities from southeastern Labrador to southeastern Newfoundland is tied inextricably to the sustainability of the fish stock known as northern cod,Gadus morhua. This has been so since the early seventeenth century, when the English and French first established year-round settlements in Newfoundland (Cell 1982). When the moratorium on commercial fishing for northern cod was announced in 1992, an estimated 16 per cent of the total workforce – as much as 90 per cent in many communities – was directly employed by the fishery (Cashin 1993). However, since Canada’s extension of its fisheries jurisdiction limit to 200...

    • 14 Tying It Together along the BC Coast
      (pp. 276-298)

      Everywhere along the coast of British Columbia there is unprecedented concern about the future of fishery-dependent communities. It is not uncommon to hear comments such as ‘Our future, our communities are dying – my town is dying,’ which is reminiscent of the strong feelings of east coast peoples about the collapsed east coast northern cod fishery. In 1995–6 this sense of crisis led to a series of public forums in Vancouver and fishery-dependent towns and villages along the BC coast. The meetings brought together people who were concerned about the west coast fishery to share knowledge about fish stocks...

  7. Part Three: Communities of Interest – Where Now?

    • 15 ‘That’s Not Right’: Resistance to Enclosure in a Newfoundland Crab Fishery
      (pp. 301-320)

      One of the hallmarks of modernization is enclosure of the commons: the privatization and individualization of resources that were either held in common by members of a community or open to members of the public. This process has taken far longer at sea than on land. It was not until the 1970s that coastal states carved up the common resources of the ocean within 200 nautical miles (322 kilometres) of land – the 200-mile limit – into exclusive fisheries or economic zones. And only in the 1980s did governments and industries seriously consider creating private rights in the fish stocks,...

    • 16 A Future without Fish? Constructing Social Life on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula after the Cod Moratorium
      (pp. 321-339)

      What happens when an ocean fish population is exploited to the point of collapse? Obviously, the ecological system in the area once inhabited by that fish will be altered, and in an especially significant way should the fish constitute a relatively large portion of the living organisms. The economic and social impact on people who had depended on this fishery may also be great, particularly in areas with few alternative fisheries and few other occupations. Whereas Barbara Neis in her chapter considers changes in the Newfoundland fishery over a longer period and focuses on their effect on women, here we...

    • 17 Directions, Principles, and Practice in the Shared Governance of Canadian Marine Fisheries
      (pp. 340-354)

      Political ecologists have always been particularly interested in cases of successful resource-management problem-solving by self-organizing local and regional bodies and have generated middle-range propositions or hypotheses about the conditions that permit such success. In the case of fishing communities and amalgamations thereof, they define ‘success’ in terms of the ability of such bodies to take on the powers and responsibilities of resource management, and to deal with resource management problems, both directly and indirectly.

      Local or regional bodies, of course, may approach resource problems quite differently from bureaucratic line agencies. While the latter have the legal mandate to manage and...

    • 18 Fisheries Management: Putting Our Future in Places
      (pp. 355-362)

      The crisis of fisheries is real, and global.¹ It is an ecological crisis in that fisheries production systems worldwide are losing their productive capacity. It is a socioeconomic crisis in that industrial fisheries now rely globally on U.S.$50 billion worth of subsidy per year (Garcia and Newton 1997), while simultaneously undermining the livelihood of millions of small-scale fishers (Pauly 1997).

      It is also an intellectual crisis in that fisheries science has recently lost much of its hard-won credibility, partly because of its continued perception, in spite of several fisheries-induced collapses, of narrow industry interests as the only legitimate ‘clients’ for...

    • 19 Conclusion: Lessons Learned
      (pp. 363-368)

      The problem in concluding a book such as this is not unlike that of sewing together local ecological knowledge and scientific data in the chapter above by Neis et al: where does the fruitful interface occur that will move us on? Daniel Pauly gets at this issue in his chapter, which recognizes the limits of biological science and the difficulties that social scientists face. The problems that fisheries scientists encounter in being represented in the management of Canada’s commercial fisheries is of great concern in both Hutchings’s chapter and Gallaugher and Vodden’s. The social science and humanities chapters contain an...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 369-374)