How Were Pacific Cod at Tse-whit-zen Affected by Climate Change?

Author(s): Patrick W. Rennaker; Virginia L. Butler

Year: 2017


In 2011, U.S. federal agencies listed Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) in the Salish Sea as a species of concern. Fishery managers typically use historical data from the past ~ 50 years to create baselines to manage reduced fisheries, which does not take into account long term environmental change or how human populations have affected the ecosystem in the past. Archaeological data extends these baselines much further back in time. The Tse-whit-zen faunal project provides a ~ 2200 yr history of indigenous fisheries for one part of the Salish Sea and thus presents a unique opportunity to address questions relevant to current management. Measurements of the quadrate, premaxilla and abdominal vertebrae were used to reconstruct body size; and taxonomic abundance provides a crude estimate of changing fish abundance, that were compared to predictions from changing sea surface temperature linked to the Medieval Climatic Anomaly and the Little Ice Age or overfishing. Minor fluctuations in size over time were seen, but these are not linked to known climate trends. Cod abundance decreases during the Medieval Climatic Anomaly and increases after the Little Ice Age, which is consistent with predicted response. Impacts from exploitation pressure are not evident.

Cite this Record

How Were Pacific Cod at Tse-whit-zen Affected by Climate Change?. Patrick W. Rennaker, Virginia L. Butler. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430212)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16459