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Fishing into the Past

Fishing into the Past
For as long as anyone can remember, small wooden stakes have stood at the tidal zone of the Comox Valley in Vancouver Island. Though the stakes number over 100,000, their purpose was thought to be forgotten. That is, until, someone asked.

Archaeologist Nancy Green, who had been interested in the stakes, began to document their positions and asked around with local K'ómok elders about what they knew. Their answers revealed the stakes' purpose: they were an intricate system of fishing.

For thousands of years, this system was run and maintained by the Indigenous people to hold vast networks of nets at the tide. Fish would swim over in high tide but be stranded when the water receded below the net. This system even allowed people to target and manage the populations of different types of fish, only catching what they wanted.

The K'ómok people weren't the only indigenous cultures with these amazing techniques either. You can learn more about the research behind the techniques and the history of their use in this article! It's an amazing story that reminds us sometimes the best way to learn is just to ask the right people.
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