Faculty Research Fellow Catherine West Co-Authors Paper on Changing Cod Sizes in the North Pacific Over Millennia

Catherine West, a Research Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology and a Faculty Research Fellow at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, recently co-authored a paper exploring the size of cod in the North Pacific over the past several thousand years.

The paper, published in the journal Quaternary Research, compared modern and archaeological Pacific cod measurements and found that fish size distributions in the North Pacific Ocean have remained largely consistent for 6,000 years. In most places, the authors found, the largest cod are still caught today. Loss of the largest fish appeared in only two locations, where commercial cod fisheries have the longest and most intensive history, suggesting that anthropogenic factors may have had an impact on cod size.

As a Pardee Center Faculty Research Fellow, Prof. West is convening social scientists, resource managers, and climate scientists for the first Symposium on Circumpolar Climate Change, Resource Management, and Applied Archaeology in the spring of 2021. The symposium aims to foster discussion about the value of long-term archaeological and paleoenvironmental records for contemporary resource management, and will build on existing collaborations to discuss the role of these long-term records in fisheries management in the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans, where fishing is central to cultural and economic health.