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Herring and People of the North Pacific

Herring and People of the North Pacific

Sustaining a Keystone Species

by Thomas F. Thornton and Madonna L. Moss

Published by: University of Washington Press

280 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm, 14 b&w illus., 2 maps, 4 charts, 6 tables

  • ISBN: 9780295748290
  • Published: January 2021


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 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.