Catching the released: conservation and aquaculture's shared colonial lineages in Newfoundland and Labrador

Baird, Christopher (2022) Catching the released: conservation and aquaculture's shared colonial lineages in Newfoundland and Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Aquaculture is a booming industry in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Industrial salmon farming has potential to provide employment and generate economic activity in a region previously devastated by the collapse of northern cod stocks. However, the aquaculture industry, which was once heavily supported by conservation groups and thought to alleviate pressure on wild salmon stocks, is now a suspected contributor to the decline of wild salmon. After decades of operation, it has become clear that the practice of commercial salmon farming has many shortcomings. Although salmon anglers and aquaculturists appear to be in diametrically opposed conflict on the question of further aquaculture development in the province, these groups share a common colonial lineage in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Left out of this discussion are the voices of the Mi’kmaw salmon anglers of Miawpukek First Nation who have been profoundly impacted by the decline of wild Atlantic salmon, a fish of historical, economic and cultural importance. The differing perspectives among the loudest settler voices represented by the salmonid industry and salmonid conservation groups, and the mostly silenced voices of the Mi’kmaw, stem from epistemological and ontological differences in what fish are understood to be and have been heavily influenced by settler colonial relations. In this thesis, I focus on understanding the apparent conflict between the salmonid aquaculture industry and salmonid conservation groups in Newfoundland and Labrador. Through an analysis of their shared settler colonial lineage, I find that these groups come together in their promotion of the science and technology of closed containment aquaculture and in their singular focus on understanding fish as resources and capital. While disputes between salmonid aquaculture developers and conservationists on the island of Newfoundland have become the dominant voices, Mi’kmaw salmon anglers belonging to Miawpukek First Nation know and relate to salmonids differently outside the colonial lineage of settler anglers and aquaculturalists.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15781
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 147-176)
Keywords: Aquaculture, Colonialism, Salmon, Conservation, Newfoundland, Labrador, Indigenous, Catch and release, Atlantic salmon, Recreational angling, Fly fishing, Acclimatization, Imperialism, British Empire
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: September 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Atlantic salmon--Colonization--Newfoundland and Labrador; Aquaculture industry--Newfoundland and Labrador

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