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Lifelines: Canada's East Coast Fisheries

Cross Currents
500 Generations of Aboriginal Fishing 
in Atlantic Canada
Fishing at Sea
Cross Currents: 
500 Generations of Aboriginal Fishing in Atlantic Canada


Atlantic Canada's diverse coastal topography - ranging from the rugged, rocky coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador to the more subdued shorelines and sandy beaches of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence - supported a wide variety of animal life.

In coastal and offshore environments, there were few limitations in the pursuit of Atlantic Canada's marine resources. Although we do not have direct archaeological evidence that boats were used in these early times, we know from archaeological finds of specialized tools and animal bones that people hunted offshore for sea mammals and birds. They also had the ability to travel considerable distances across large bodies of water. Finds from the remote Magdalene Islands indicate that people have been crossing the Gulf of St. Lawrence for at least 9,000 years. Trade in raw materials from northern Labrador to New England, and cultural links traceable over great distances, would have required reliable forms of water transport.

Magdalene Islands - 
Photograph: David Keenlyside

Magdalene Islands landscape
(Photo: David Keenlyside,
Canadian Museum of Civilization)




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