Fishing rights – and debate about them – formed a backdrop to my entire life. If it wasn’t in my childhood, listening to my grandfather angrily railing against Native American fishing rights, or studying/hearing about Native American fishing rights and meeting the cause’s activists, it was later the way fishing, fish, fish quotas pervade and form the Icelandic culture, even now. Moving to Norway, and later Scotland, fish tales continue to follow me (or I them).
It never occurred to me that discussions about fish, fish survival, populations and existence, and the rights to access said fish, weren’t universal to everyone who lives in a society that, in one way or another, is engaged in fishing. I suppose the distinction is whether a society relies on or merely engages in fishing. In many places I have lived, livelihoods were built on fish – and cultures revolved around fish-related identities.
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