Emerging issues, Historical ecology, Forage fish, Shifting baselines, Fisheries, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Indigenous people and government bodies are often at odds when it comes to acceptable levels of impacts to local ecology that are based on two very different historical and cultural perspectives. For Coast Salish peoples such as Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN), who have lived around the Salish Sea for thousands of years, recent historical fisheries records are a pale reflection of the former abundance harvested by their ancestors. For modern ecologists and fisheries scientists, recent fisheries records (post colonization) provide historic baseline and objectives for current management. While this latter perspective is pervasive among regulators, we argue that historical and ongoing negative impacts on local marine resources remain severe and greatly underestimated. In Canada, this historically distorted perspective of both federal and provincial government policymaking leads to mismanagement of current and future fisheries. The historical ecology of forage fish in the Vancouver region is an excellent example of this, and of how Indigenous knowledge can be used to correct currently accepted, but misleading, baselines and objectives for conservation management.
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This is an edited, condensed version of a peer-reviewed publication – for full article see DOI.
Salish Sea Institute
Morin, Jesse; Evans, Blake; and Efford, Meaghan, "Using Ethnohistoric Data to Correct Historical Ecological Baselines: Urbanization and the Collapse of Forage Fish in Vancouver" (2023). Institute Publications. 36.
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