Salmon – shiny, silvery threads of life.
Take a few minutes to marvel at the role of wild salmon in holding together the fabric of life on our coast?
June 1st is #BCWildSalmonDay.
See the salmon in Surf’s mouth?
Surf is A66, a mature male Orca belonging to the inshore fish-eating (clearly) population of threatened Northern Residents. He was born to Sonora (A42) in 1996. While “Resident” populations of Orca also eat other fish species, their well-being is correlated to availability of salmon (especially Chinook Salmon).
Whales do not randomly blunder about looking for food. Nor are salmon flailing about arbitrarily. The fabric is so much finer than that.
For thousands of years, generation-upon-generation, families of Orca have depended on the same lineages of salmon. In these dark waters, the fish-eating Orca can literally sound out location, size and species of their prey with biosonar / echolocation. Females almost always share the catch with their family (Wright et al).
Salmon fight to return to the exact rivers of their birth by some pull we human have yet to fully understand. This flow is predictable and essential. This predictability provides ease of hunting for the many who depend on the silver flow – from fish-feasting Orca to human fisherfolk. Less energy is needed because the prey SHOULD be easy to find.
The salmon are guided to spawn so that, in death, they deliver nutrients from the Ocean back to the freshwater where they were born, even hundreds of kilometres inland. That is, if transit is not impeded by drought, siltation and slides, parasites and/or disease, or by lack of cold refuges.
The rich bodies of salmon will nourish the ecosystem so that enough of their young may survive to hold the fabric together. Their bodies feed trees, bears, eagles, song birds, insects, deer, wolves, and so much more.
By spawning and dying, the salmon also ensure their diseases and parasites die with them. Nutrients remain.
This web is made of a fabric of exquisite beauty and perfection, shaped by vast expanses of time. Weathered, refined, and adapted by slow change.
But, now, change comes far too fast through the actions, and insufficient reactions, of those who do blunder and act arbitrarily. We, the humans without sufficient understanding of the intricacy of it all, nor how we are attached to the threads.
Know that what helps salmon, herring, whales – is the fabric that holds we clumsy bipeds together too.
Not disparate problems.
But the same life-enhancing solutions.
Care more. Consume less.
Photo: ©Jackie Hildering taken in 2014 in Kwakwak’wakw Territory, northeast Vancouver Island.
Related blog but with me applying Seussian style: A World Without Salmon