We Love Salmon

The world is going to heck. Or, it is possible you feel that way. Don’t you think? I certainly hope not. Like you, I am on a boat avoiding the hazards. There are rocks and boulders out there that sprout up in my journey across the water. Any one of them potentially will sink my hopes, my dreams and my day.

            In the last week, I saw two big events bring promise to the future of the salmon known in North America. I get my faith from watching others rise above adversity. If there was ever a poster child for an unhappy species, I’d say salmon have a tough time. This is a fish that once flourished in the North Atlantic and in the North Pacific. It was a fish that was prolific. Just look at some of the stories and legends shared by Native Americans. The rivers and streams of old America were full of them. The ocean had plenty of room, what could a salmon want.

            Last week, or slightly more than a week ago, a news story crossed the land about a major detriment to salmon being washed away. The Army Corp of Engineers turned down issuing a permit to the Pebble Mine, a massive project impacting the land, the people and the resources of Alaska. This is an Alaska story. It is worth taking a Google search: Pebble Mine, salmon for closer details to what happened.

        It would have harmed the many people, especially our Native American friends, of a livelihood that goes back generations. Let us go further, it would have ruined a very profitable and important food chain that goes back centuries.

            The politics to this story is gigantic, International, federal and local.

            The project’s demise is great news! The fishery and the fishermen will live for another day.

            The second piece of news is that scientists have finally figured out what is likely killing all the once healthy and vibrant coho salmon. This species of salmon is endangered and have been struggling despite major efforts to give them the room they need. For years there was was some unknown reason why so many fish just weren’t making it.

            Last week, scientists report that there is a key ingredient in the making of tires, 6-PPD,, that once released in the environment gets many times more toxic and thus harmful to the fish. This is also a story worth reading more about online.

            Why does this matter? Because these two stories together add a whole lot of hope to man’s ability to rise above environmental problems and potentially save not only the salmon but also others out there. .

            The North Atlantic salmon are in so much trouble too. Here on the East Coast we are struggling to bring back that fish. Or, worse, there are people who used to care, they don’t care anymore.

            We need hopeful stories about salmon, not just for the sake of salmon, but also for our sake. We need some silver lining in those clouds overhead.

            I don’t like farmed salmon. I see that as a failed last resort to put fish on the table. There is so much new evidence suggesting the environmental impact of raising farmed fish is awful. I am not adverse to folks doing it for the moment, but I am really enthusiastic that we learn from the harms and restore our faith that if we can clean up our rivers and streams, and our public environmental policy, we can do a lot of more.

            We need these stories. And we need to support those institutions trying to improve our relationship with the Earth.