Speaker: Adam Olsen, Interim Leader of the Green Party of BC.
For generations in the Salish Sea my ancestors, the WSANEC, had a profound relationship with the Pacific salmon. In our world view all living things were once human and as such the salmon are our relatives. The salmon runs we harvest are sacred lineages, no different than those of the people we fish alongside.
The first sockeye of the season triggered a ceremony that could last over a week. Through the ritual the WSANEC expressed their deep respect for the Pacific salmon and also allowed the creeks and streams to burst with fish ensuring the lineages would continue for generations to come.Our fishing techniques were designed to allow the strong to succeed. WSANEC reef nets provided the perfect theatre for a selective harvest and an investment in future returns.
In the last century our relationship was broken. Destructive fishing techniques, urban development and climate change pose incredible challenges to the Pacific salmon. To make sure the fish remains a renewable resource we must change our relationship, once again becoming part of its cycle rather than dominating it.
We can look back to build the future. We can learn from the WSANEC and modify our worldview, shift the paradigm on salmon farming and rethink how we harvest British Columbia’s iconic fish.