It’s 1928, and Beluga whales are being hunted down in the St. Lawrence River, blamed for the decline of cod and salmon stocks. Their mass slaughter ended in the 1950s reducing their numbers from the tens of thousands to an endangered population that still hasn’t recovered. To know more about this story, visit the exhibit The Last Beluga Fisherman, produced by the Museum of Living Memory and virtualmuseum.ca. Leave us your comments below, and tell us why this History Matters to you.
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What native Canadian mammal was bombed with dynamite?
It’s 1928, the Beluga whale, whose name means “white one” in Russian, is being hunted down—blamed for the decline of cod and salmon stocks. For centuries, Europeans and settlers catch Belugas with harpoons and nets.
But now, in 1928, armed fishermen take to their boats on the mighty St. Lawrence River after the government sets a bounty for each Beluga tail turned in.
After thousands of Belugas are wiped-out, a 1946 inquiry reveals that they mainly feed on smelts and anglerfish. Their mass slaughter ends in the 1950s reducing their numbers from the tens of thousands to an endangered population that still hasn’t recovered.
Today on the St. Lawrence River more than a quarter of a million people take part in whale-watching cruises each year. Armed only with cameras, they hope to catch a glimpse of these protected, playful sea creatures that can live up to 75 years in the wild.
To know more about the Beluga whale go to HISTORY MATTERS at virtual museum.ca.
And tell us why this history matters to you?