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cultural history

Atlantic salmon have long been part of man's cultural traditions in Europe and North America

A few examples

Paleolithic France

Along the Vezere River in southwest France is the Labri du Poisson - a cave in which is carved a life-sized male Atlantic salmon more than a yard long. It was carved on the ceiling of this cave more than 22,000 years ago.

Roman Empire

In his Natural History, Pliny the Elder in about 50 AD talked about the passion the inhabitants of Aquitania, in present southwest France, had for Atlantic salmon.

In about 300 AD, a poem was written about the Moselle River, describing the flicker of light glinting off the Atlantic salmon dorsal fins far out in the river.

Dark Ages Scotland

Many rock carvings of the Picts depict Atlantic salmon. It is thought these carvings date from about 200 AD to 700 AD

Plantagenant England

In the Magna Carta of 1215 fishing weirs were to be removed from the Thames, Medway and other rivers. Originally this was meant to confirm rights of free navigation for ships. But as Atlantic salmon numbers rebounded with the removals of the fixed nets, other statutes in 1350 and 1472 also mentioned the need for fish to ascend the rivers.

Magna Carta: "All fish-weirs shall be removed from the Thames, the Medway, and throughout the whole of England, except on the sea coast."

Ireland and Northern Ireland

 In 1610, the weir and fishing rights on the Bann were held by the powerful, and rights confirmed by James 1. The average person was not allowed to fish on the Bann, and other major rivers.

North America


1822 - First recorded sport catch of a Maine Atlantic salmon, by a Captain Eldridge of Bucksport, Maine

ca. 1832 - USA - First Atlantic salmon caught on a rod and reel in North America is angled on the Dennys River in Maine, near the Maine/NB border.

1857 - Canada - Richard Nettle writes an account of the salmon fisheries of the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries. Nettle was also the first to set up a hatchery in Canada. He had set up a small hatachery in Quebec's upper town, on St. Eustache Street. The book describes in detail many of the rivers in the Lower St. Lawrence region