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Lifelines: Canada's East Coast Fisheries

Cross Currents
500 Generations of Aboriginal Fishing 
in Atlantic Canada
Freshwater Fish
Cross Currents: 
500 Generations of Aboriginal Fishing in Atlantic Canada


Rivers and lakes abounded year-round with species of freshwater fish, including brook and lake trout, whitefish, pickerel, pike, and perch. Many spawning saltwater species such as gaspereau, salmon and striped bass also arrived in great numbers, and were heavily fished during their various spawning seasons. Expert knowledge of fish behaviour and seasonal spawning patterns was key to community survival and the replenishing of food stores. Large quantities of fish could be caught through communal efforts using technologies such as specialized weirs, nets, and hooked lines.

Freshwater Fish

Freshwater Fish of Eastern Canada
Illustration by Frédéric Back
(Source: Claude Villeneuve and Frédéric Back, Le fleuve aux grandes eaux (Les éditions Québec / Amérique inc. - Société Radio-Canada: 1995))



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