Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Herring Dominated Prehistoric Pacific Fisheries

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ancient-herring-catchVANCOUVER, CANADA—Archaeologists at Simon Fraser University have studied more than half a million fish bones from 171 sites in the Pacific Northwest, and found that herring was much more important in prehistory than today. The Pacific herring population is dwindling, and the researchers say understanding the ecological and cultural aspects of prehistoric fisheries can help in designing a more sustainable management system for today's erratic herring catch. “By compiling the largest dataset of archaeological fish bones in the Pacific Northwest Coast, we demonstrate the value of using such data to establish an ecological baseline for modern fisheries,” archaeologist Iain McKechnie said in a Simon Fraser University statement.