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The Atlantic Salmon in the History of North America.

"The Atlantic Salmon in the History of North America" by R. W. Dunfield has been published by Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans as Canadian Special Publication of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 80, and it is an excellent source of information on the early history of the species. Following a brief but good overview of the Atlantic salmon and man, beginning with Pliny's time, the author discusses Salmo salar in North America under primeval conditions and then its precolonial fisheries. The species was a primary food source for many Native Americans as well as the early settlers, and it also constituted an important source of income for early commercial fishermen.

Next, he relates the early colonial fishery from 1604 to 1713 and the conditions of, and those affecting, the fisheries between 1713 and 1760, eventually ending his historical account in the year 1867. The author covers the efforts to protect the salmon, negotiate treaties, enact conservation measures, etc., and documents the few positive measures as well as the problems that have led to the species' sad decline. He also outlines the salmon's role in international fishing rights disputes-no small matter in days of yore. The Atlantic salmon, of course, was a more important resource in early America, and this fine history of its discovery, exploitation, and the environmental and other problems that have caused its great decline, should provide some insights into the steps that must be taken if the species is to be restored. Along the way, the author has provided some interesting and entertaining reading.

Appendix A presents historic methods used to preserve and pack salmon; Appendix B lists Canadian catch and export statistics for the species. Also provided is a lengthy bibliography, and the book itself could be a good model for those who want to write a thorough history of other species and their fisheries. The 181-page paperbound volume is sold by Supply and Services Canada in Ottawa K1A 0S9 for $11.94 in Canada or $14.35 to other countries.
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Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1988
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