problem? part III

I’m not sure if others find this a worrisome headline from CBC in 2008:

Imported Russian sockeye salmon hits B.C. plates

Another article in the Vancouver Sun reports:

Sockeye salmon from Russia is being imported to B.C. and showing up in Metro Vancouver fish markets as an alternative to its once-bountiful B.C. cousin.

One company in Vancouver expected to bring in 30 to 40 tonnes of Russian sockeye this past year.

Is there not great irony in this?

The city on one of the greatest sockeye rivers on earth has to import sockeye from Russia…

this is irony added to the fact that many British Columbia First Nation communities are having sockeye trucked to their communities from hatchery-supported runs — along highways that sit adjacent to the rivers that once supported salmon runs of over 100 million salmon for thousands of years.

A related articles to these suggested this summer in Calgary, Alberta — fresh sockeye was fetching $28/kg; that’s over $60/lb. And yet, fishermen still only received 70 cents a pound in Alaska.

Further concern – a study that came out this past summer “Estimating legal and illegal catches of Russian sockeye salmon from trade and market data” (Oxford Journal International Council for Exploration of the Sea) suggests that the actual catch of Russian sockeye is 60-90% higher than reported – levels 8,000 to 15,000 tonnes representing $40-74 million.

And with Vancouver and other western North American markets opening up (due to sockeye population collapses up and down the coast) why wouldn’t there be more illegal catches?

And with dwindling supply one might expect prices would rise – especially with more effective campaigns against farmed salmon (it’s that sword that cuts on both sides).

Unfortunately, I don’t think Wal-Mart or Target will be selling $60/lb sockeye in their stores any time soon…

We have ourselves in a classic pickle… just shift the burden.

Is an average wealthy consumer really going to care whether their sockeye comes from their neighborhood or from the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia?

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