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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

For over 500 generations, Native peoples have fished the rich waters of Atlantic Canada. Cross Currents traces the evolving story of changing landscapes, fishing technologies and human interactions from 11,000 years ago to the present day.


Gabriel Acquin - 
The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment Museum - MM024082

For thousands of years, Aboriginal people have depended on the rich marine resources of Atlantic Canada for sustenance and raw materials. Gabriel Acquin, great Sagmore of the Maliseets, was a skilled fishing and hunting guide, and in 1883 represented Aboriginal people at an international fisheries exhibition in London, England.

Gabriel Acquin with Paddle, Maliseet First Nation (ca. 1860)
The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment Museum
Number MM024082)


Mi'kmaq Commercial Fisherman - 
Photograph: Steve McMurray

Aboriginal peoples of Atlantic Canada no longer depend on fishing for subsistence, although fishing remains an important economic way of life for some. Once-unlimited fish resources are now a shared resource, in which conservation and management are essential to ensuring a future for the fishery.

Mi'kmaq Commercial Fisherman (2000)
Photo: Steve McMurray
(Courtesy: Canadian Responsible Fisheries Board)


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