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Lifelines: Canada's East Coast Fisheries

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


Walrus oil, ivory and a hide tough enough to be used in the rigging of sailing ships made the walrus a valuable commodity among the Europeans who came to Canada's East Coast from the sixteenth century on. Once found in great numbers from Newfoundland to northern New England - like the once-great walrus herds of Europe's North Atlantic - three centuries of uncontrolled hunting had brought the walrus to extinction in Atlantic Canada by the early 1800s.

The extinction of the walrus may have signaled the beginning of the end of a way of life that had sustained generations of Native and non-Native peoples in Atlantic Canada.


The Walrus
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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