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 pre-contact Indigenous relationships with herring to post-contact 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 archaeological, historical, and biological data, in both understanding marine ecology and restoring herring to their former abundance.
Thomas F. Thornton is dean of arts and sciences and vice provost for research and sponsored programs at the University of Alaska Southeast, and author of Being and Place among the Tlingit. Madonna L. Moss is professor of anthropology and curator of zooarchaeology at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, University of Oregon, and author of Northwest Coast: Archaeology as Deep History.
"Does no less than take the reader through the 10,000-year history of herring ecology and use by both Indigenous and non-Native people in the North Pacific."
– Ann Fienup-Riordan, author of Ellavut / Our Yup'ik World and Weather
"A significant, extensive discussion of Indigenous knowledge surrounding Pacific herring and the issues of modern herring management that are currently very important to Indigenous peoples in Southeast Alaska and coastal British Columbia."
– Chuck Smythe, director, Department of History and Culture, Sealaska Heritage Institute