would the salmon really care…?

There are a few curious salmon headlines from the last few days. On the weekend, the Vancouver Sun ran an article suggesting: “It’s time we honoured our province’s icon

We might want to find ourselves an official fish. Many people think we already have one. Actually we don’t. It’s time we honoured the salmon. Salmon are the icon of this province…

…salmon remain a vital part of the ecological food chain that feeds those grizzly bears, bald eagles and orcas that make us one of the continent’s last, great wilderness destinations.

I’m not sure this type of hyperbole is really all that useful — e.g. “last, great wilderness destinations”… I might suggest there are no shortage of “wilderness destinations” in Canada – like most of the flippin’ country north of the 51st parallel; and other places around the world.

This article was supported yesterday through a separate article by Ms. Iona Compagnolo, the former lieutenant-governor of B.C. and former MP from northwestern BC:  “Salmon is a true symbol of our province“.

Salmon have long meant much more to British Columbians than a source of income or a fine meal. As with so many of our signposts in this time of immense change, the species of salmon found in our countless rivers, streams and waterways represent a precious inheritance that is deserving of our formal recognition.

I mean no disrespect to this effort or individuals involved — on one hand I can understand how some folks hold this ’emblematic’ significance, on the other hand there is part of me that asks “so what?” or “would the salmon really care?”

The Atlantic Salmon is on the coat of arms of New Brunswick with a crown on its head, and the old flag and coat of arms of Nova Scotia had a salmon on it.

And yet “Federal Funding cuts hurt Atlantic Salmon“; a CBC article from earlier today.

‘At a time when the Atlantic salmon need the most help from our federal government, the resources just aren’t there.’— Bill Taylor, president of the Atlantic Salmon Federation

Yeah… I think I might know a similar story on this side of Canada.

_ _ _ _ _ _

Here’s a related story:

“Fish are the canaries in the mine shaft,” said Felix Breden, chairman of SFU’s biology department. “They can help us learn much more about climate change and human impacts on the environment.”

This a quote coming from an international symposium on these past few days at Simon Fraser University (SFU). The next quote from this article is certainly a bit of a shocker.

“The missing sockeye in the Fraser River are obviously telling us that there is a problem,” he said, citing B.C.’s most infamous ecological mystery.

4 thoughts on “would the salmon really care…?

  1. kd

    what, no one made a joke yet about the Province really wanting a farmed Atlantic as our fish symbol….???

  2. scott

    The Steelhead Society of BC tried to get the Steelhead as a provincial fish. Its far more iconic to us and many serious anglers than Salmon, and BC is unique in that we have the truly great Steelhead fisheries, they are far better Canary’s than Salmon, and Salmon abound in Alaska and the Northwest States…(sorta) unlike Steelhead…BUT…the Government in BC doesn’t want to do that, it puts them on a pedestal, its makes them have to manage them more, which, so far, they have have been trying to do less off…(see comments about Atlantic salmon funding)

    A steelhead, regardless of recent science changes, is really a trout…another great BC fish…mostly because they were once Steelhead…go figure

  3. kd

    I was totally in favor of lobbying to get steelhead the Provincial fish….but now I am so pissed off that I beleive neither salmon nor steelhead should be used this way. Our governments and agencies have neglected and abused these critters too much to turn around and claim one as a symbol of how great BC is.
    Maybe show them some real respect and stewardship before touting them as proud symbols of our land and country. Without that, it is just a marketing tool imo.

  4. salmon guy Post author

    Added Scott, that steelhead poses a curious issue now with the decision by the BC Supreme court in the Alexandra Morton case on salmon farming and who should be managing it. The BCSC ruled that the feds were wrong to hand over regulation of salmon farms to the Province of BC — pretty interesting constitutional debate.

    I’m left wondering if one could raise a similar case with steelhead – and whether the feds should have handed ‘management’ of these lovely fish to the Province. On one hand, yes, a trout — however also anadromous (but then so are some cutthroat, Dolly Varden and others).

    Now of course there is a great divide (I often refer to it as a pissing match) between egos in the Feds and Provincial bodies. Plus the schism in how to properly look after freshwater habitat.

    thanks for the comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *