The fishing room as a formative element in Newfoundland's coastal landscape development: a study in historical geography

Sturge, Chris (2007) The fishing room as a formative element in Newfoundland's coastal landscape development: a study in historical geography. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Canada contains several recognizable landscape icons such as the concession, township and range system, long lot system, seigneurial system and the prairie section that exemplify connections between resident populations and property. Attachment to life space is nurtured through bonds with place, community and region, and in western culture is exemplified by property ownership of varying spatial arrangements, functions or appearance. In Newfoundland, a land use form called the fishing room evolved from coastal common property connecting marine resource distributions with shoreline from which such resources could be most efficiently exploited. This thesis explores fishing room development from European discovery in 1497 to 1805, and details how areas of coastal land were transformed into small, enclosed properties adaptable for settlement. Fishing rooms were originally defined, managed and seasonally transferred under the British fishing admiralty system which favoured an equitable sharing of coastal land among stakeholders, and promoted stability in a generally unstable trade environment. Fishing rooms were not the product of land use systems imposed arbitrarily upon an uninhabited frontier, but developed as a practical land use strategy to provide adequate shore space for living, working and production. Extended occupation of land within these systems integrated human occupancy into distinct socio-environmental entities, invited a cultural relationship with immediate bio-physical surroundings, and promoted a singular sense of place and belonging. Fishing rooms provided a proven and legitimate land use strategy in which Newfoundland inhabitants were linked through heritage and tradition to a landscape perched physically and culturally between land and sea.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11489
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 205-212).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: 2007
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Coastal settlements--Newfoundland and Labrador--History; Land tenure--Law and legislation--Newfoundland and Labrador--History.

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