Herring are vital to the productivity and health of marine systems, and socio-ecologically Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) is one of the most important fish species in the Northern Hemisphere. Human dependence on herring has evolved for millennia through interactions with key spawning areas, but humans have also significantly impacted the species’ distribution and abundance.
Combining ethnological, historical, archaeological, and political perspectives with comparative reference to other North Pacific cultures, Herring and People of the North Pacific: Sustaining a Keystone Species (U Washington Press, 2021) traces fishery development in Southeast Alaska from precontact Indigenous relationships with herring to postcontact focus on herring products. Revealing new findings about current herring stocks as well as the fish’s significance to the conservation of intraspecies biodiversity, the book explores the role of traditional local knowledge, in combination with archeological, historical, and biological data, in both understanding marine ecology and restoring herring to their former abundance.
Adam Bobeck is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Leipzig. His PhD is entitled “Object-Oriented Azadari: Shi’i Muslim Rituals and Ontology”. For more about his work, see www.adambobeck.com.
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