M.A.Theses: Nova Pierson, 2011


Bridging Troubled Waters: Zooarchaeology and Marine Conservation on Burrard Inlet, Southwest British Columbia

For thousands of years, the Coast Salish and their ancestors relied on the abundant marine resources of the Strait of Georgia. In the Greater Vancouver area, First Nations and others are working to restore and conserve taxa which are impacted by commercial fishing, pollution, and habitat destruction. Zooarchaeological data can contribute to modern fisheries management efforts because they reflect species presence and abundance that pre-date modern declines.

I explore the pre-contact record of marine resource use, presence and abundance through zooarchaeological data from Burrard Inlet and its arms. These data show prolonged and inlet-wide use of taxa including salmon, herring, and anchovy in precontact times. By harvesting locally, and focusing on multiple species, including small and large species, pre-contact harvesting efforts may have promoted sustainability. In contast, today’s single-species management paradigm has led to cascading declines of preferred species, and forced commercial efforts offshore and onto once-spurned smaller fish.

Keywords: Applied zooarchaeology; Northwest Coast; Coast Salish fisheries; fisheries management; shifting baselines; palaeodata; marine conservation.