In 1992 the Canadian government issued a moratorium on the fishing of Atlantic cod after the fish population hit 1% of normal levels. In my head I’ve always thought of it as an unsurprising case of cultural greed and ecological ignorance on the part of European fishing industry, which isn’t necessarily incorrect. But something that occurred to me out on the islands of northeastern Newfoundland is that prior to 1992 and the 1950s when the decline really began, European fishing had been going on for nearly 500 years. I know that’s not thousands like Indigenous existence in the area, but it’s not mere decades either. I guess it’s just important to keep in mind the span of generations, the societal reliance on fishing and its importance throughout history, as well as the non-monolithic stories of individual fishermen and women and families. I don’t mean to promote European dominance and ecological destruction, I just mean there’s a lot more to 500 years than what happened in 1992.
#astheravenflies #canada150 #resist150 #newfoundland #history