Catches of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, recorded in historical documents from the 17-18th Centuries have been analysed in four locations in the basins of the White and Barents Seas. Atlantic salmon was one of the most valuable products of the local economy in the 17-18th Centuries in the northern Russia. Therefore, catches were well recorded in the account books of state departments and monasteries. Salmon were fished mostly in the lower parts of rivers, using weirs which technologically were not changed over the centuries. This makes fishing effort commensurable and allows comparison of historical catch data of the 17-18th Centuries with statistical data available since the last quarter of the 19th Century. Notable fluctuations of catches, average weight and ratio of different seasonal forms of salmon were revealed. Decreasing catches tended to coincide with relatively colder periods. Comparison of historical and statistical data has shown that catches Atlantic salmon and therefore changes in size of their populations were most probably driven by natural factors before middle of the 20th Century.
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