Human cultures often evolve around the presence of natural resources. Trout have been a key food for many cultures in the northern hemisphere and documentation of human/trout interactions has been captured in cave paintings and other art forms and passed from generation to generation as oral and written histories of the importance of trout to local peoples. Trout also provided economic opportunities in the forms of trade and barter and in the development of tools and techniques that were used to harvest trout. Fast forward to the 21st century and the technologies have changed, but in many places the role of trout in communities has become even more important. In others, where trout did not exist, whole cultures have evolved around the presence and exploitation of trout.
Drive through the communities around Yellowstone Park on a summer day and you will see as many drift boats as you see cars. Guiding services, tackle manufacturers, fishing lodges, trout hatcheries and other associated businesses that provide gasoline and groceries, lodging, and support in small communities worldwide are valuable assets worth billions of dollars. Add the influx of writers, artists, and musicians and you have a culture that is based on the presence of the trout resource. What is most amazing about trout is that many of these cultural centers have only emerged in the last 10-50 years and in places that you might not expect. For example, European immigrants settling in the southern hemisphere in the late 1900’s were responsible for translocating trout in South America, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. While some might argue today that there were catastrophic consequences to native aquatic communities, local economies in many of these areas and cultural traditions are evolving around the presence of trout.
In some cases where trout may historically have had minor significance in local cultures, the emergence of eco-tourism has created opportunities for local artisans, businesses, and outfitters to create new economic and cultural opportunities. Visit Pakistan, Mongolia, and Kamchatka to see how quickly trout have become an important part of the economy and the communities in these areas.
We’ll use The World of Trout to explore trout communities and cultures across the globe and hear from local peoples about how trout play a vital role in these communities. We’ll also hear how these communities are using trout to educate citizens on the value of clean water and healthy habitat and promote these principles for long-term sustainability.