Abstract Title

Session S-03D: Forage Fish Research and Protection in the Salish Sea

Proposed Abstract Title

Shifting baselines in Puget Sound: population abundance of Pacific herring and its use by Native Americans over the millennia

Presenter/Author Information

Eleni PetrouFollow

Keywords

Species and Food Webs

Location

Room 6C

Start Date

1-5-2014 5:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 6:30 PM

Description

Healthy marine ecosystems have become a top priority for management and conservation bodies. However, the definition of ecosystem health is usually based on data from populations that have already been degraded by recent human impacts such as commercial resource extraction, climate change and habitat destruction. Unfortunately, this incremental degradation of natural ecosystems is linked directly to the erosion of social systems, especially among Indigenous peoples. Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) might be an example of ‘shifting baselines’ in the marine environment, as intense commercial fishing in both Canada and the US predate recent biomass estimates. Furthermore, the predominance of herring bones in archaeological remains and the importance of herring in local oral history are often not matched by the limited number of tribal herring fisheries today. Here, we present the rationale of a Washington Sea Grant funded project to reconstruct pre-industrial levels of population diversity of Pacific herring in Puget Sound, and to gather traditional local knowledge on its past abundance and cultural importance to local tribes. The project draws from several disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, and genetics, and is nested within two larger programs, the Herring School (SFU, Canada) and the NSF IGERT Program on Ocean Change (UW, USA). Specifically, we will (i) synthesize traditional local knowledge about herring in Puget Sound, (ii) quantify extant genetic population diversity, (iii) compare pre-industrial genetic population diversity estimated from archaeological bones with that of extant herring, and (iv) carry out outreach activities with our tribal partners. We expect that the project will lead to a re-evaluation of recovery goals of Puget Sound herring and foster discussions about achievable and desirable management goals between tribal and other stakeholder groups.

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May 1st, 5:00 PM May 1st, 6:30 PM

Shifting baselines in Puget Sound: population abundance of Pacific herring and its use by Native Americans over the millennia

Room 6C

Healthy marine ecosystems have become a top priority for management and conservation bodies. However, the definition of ecosystem health is usually based on data from populations that have already been degraded by recent human impacts such as commercial resource extraction, climate change and habitat destruction. Unfortunately, this incremental degradation of natural ecosystems is linked directly to the erosion of social systems, especially among Indigenous peoples. Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) might be an example of ‘shifting baselines’ in the marine environment, as intense commercial fishing in both Canada and the US predate recent biomass estimates. Furthermore, the predominance of herring bones in archaeological remains and the importance of herring in local oral history are often not matched by the limited number of tribal herring fisheries today. Here, we present the rationale of a Washington Sea Grant funded project to reconstruct pre-industrial levels of population diversity of Pacific herring in Puget Sound, and to gather traditional local knowledge on its past abundance and cultural importance to local tribes. The project draws from several disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, and genetics, and is nested within two larger programs, the Herring School (SFU, Canada) and the NSF IGERT Program on Ocean Change (UW, USA). Specifically, we will (i) synthesize traditional local knowledge about herring in Puget Sound, (ii) quantify extant genetic population diversity, (iii) compare pre-industrial genetic population diversity estimated from archaeological bones with that of extant herring, and (iv) carry out outreach activities with our tribal partners. We expect that the project will lead to a re-evaluation of recovery goals of Puget Sound herring and foster discussions about achievable and desirable management goals between tribal and other stakeholder groups.