Nature gave us sockeye salmon this year. A red-scaled, bounding life source, some 34 million fish strong.
This has led to human voices shouting out in all from gratitude to greed; from delight to denial.
Predictably, sadly, there have been far too many who have been at the “greedy denial” end of the spectrum. I will not tire you with that here though.
I want to fish out two voices of sanity from the ocean of opinions. One voice is that of reporter Stephen Hume from the Vancouver Sun. The other is nine-year-old Avery Walker who I am privileged to have as a member of my Northern Vancouver Island Young Naturalists’ Club.
Stephen Hume, award-winning author, in The Vancouver Sun: “Columnists who apparently wouldn’t know the difference between a sockeye and a sculpin cluck and scold in a Toronto newspaper. One enthusiastically advances the argument that we should whack 30 million of the 34 million returning salmon . . . . . Instead of permitting a lust for instant gratification to derail a natural process for rebuilding small stocks, now is the time for restraint, for harvest restraint is a critical investment in future abundance. So enjoy your sockeye. Be grateful for this gift from nature. But don’t let the gong show of greed sway us from good stewardship.”
Avery Walker, 9-year-old Young Naturalist, with his prize-winning submission to the Wild Salmon Circle’s “Spawning Ideas” contest: “I fish only with barbless hooks, I’ve taken all the treble hooks from the all the buzzbombs I have and replaced them with single barbless hooks. I don’t jig the fish, I fish the ones who bite. Sometimes this is really hard to do, because not all of my friends fish like this, and so they sometimes take home more fish than I do. I abide by the regulations about which salmon I can keep and which ones I can’t. I never go over my limit. Or keep undersized fish. Most of the time, I catch and release. I love to fish, and I want to be able to do it forever.”
Thank you Avery. Thank you Stephen. Thank you all who make choices that may allow us to have . . . fish forever.
For insights into the need for precaution in managing the harvesting and threats to the Fraser River sockeye, please click here for information from “Save Our Salmon”.