University of Oulu

Autti, Outi (2017). The Wise Salmon that Returned Home. In T. Syrjämaa & Räsänen T. (Eds.), Shared Lives of Humans and Animals: Animal Agency in the Global North (pp. 179-191). London: Routledge

The wise salmon that returned home

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Author: Autti, Outi1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Routledge, 2017
Publish Date: 2023-05-03


This chapter examines an ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 2009–2010, and in particular interview data, which consists of interviews with 23 salmon fishermen living along and near the Kemijoki and Iijoki rivers in northern Finland. Salmon were the biggest, strongest, and economically most significant fish, even though whitefish were even more plentiful in some locations. Due to the lack of a shared element and other known features of the fish, salmon were considered a mysterious creature, sometimes believed to possess supernatural powers. There is a connection between salmon and traditional beliefs and spirituality, as well as animism, as defined by Tim Ingold. The fact that salmon return annually to their birth river to breed was well known among the people along the rivers. It was considered a deeply human characteristic; fish were perceived to express appreciation for their birthplace. During the last decade, several migrant fish restoration projects have taken place on these rivers.

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ISBN: 978-1-31-522876-1
ISBN Print: 978-0-41-541925-3
Pages: 179 - 191
DOI: 10.4324/9781315228761-17
Host publication: Shared lives of humans and animals : animal agency in the Global North
Host publication editor: Räsänen, Tuomas
Syrjämaa, Taina
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 5141 Sociology
616 Other humanities
Copyright information: © 2017 selection and editorial matter, Tuomas Räsänen and Taina Syrjämaa; individual chapters, the contributors.