I love salmon.
I revere them. And I adore what happens when I incorporate them into my body.
I wrote an Ode to Salmon in the early days of my blog.
I still eat salmon. Several times a week. Despite ongoing & growing concerns about radiation contamination throughout the Pacific ocean from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan.
When the available science is suspect (the FDA says there are is “no evidence that radionuclides from the Fukushima incident… pose a public health concern”), I tend to appraoch food intuitively. And despite any (inevitable, to my mind) cross-Pacific contamination, I believe the benefits of eating salmon still outweigh the risks. For me.
Matthew is eating less salmon now, as we know (too well) that he is generally less able to handle toxins and radiation. He has to be more careful.
But our wild Pacific salmon are also under threat on this side of the Pacific.
Earlier this month, a breach from an open-pit mine owned by Imperial Metals in Secwepemc territory in British Columbia leaked 10 billion litres of contaminated water and 5 billion litres of solid tailings waste into the headwaters of our river system. The entire Quesnel and Cariboo river systems are now contaminated, right up to the salmon-bearing Fraser River. The Fraser is B.C.’s longest river and a major nursery for wild salmon.
This disaster won’t particularly affect this year’s mature salmon (we’re having a wicked strong return of Sockeye on the Fraser this summer), but their progeny: what will be, or would have been, mature salmon four years from now.
Salmon return to the waterways of their birth to spawn before they die. In four year cycles. This year, the fish that survive their infancy will have started their lives in water contaminated by arsenic, mercury and sulfur from the Mount Polley Mine breach.
The original name of the area where this mine is located is Yuct ne Senxiymetkwe, meaning the “the greatest of the great lakes”, according to the Warrior Publications blog. The Secwepemc and other local residents have set up a disaster monitoring and sacred fire camp at the entrance of the Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley Mine.
Today is the 9th day of sacred fire at the camp.
The 9th day of sacred fire for healing for Secwepemc territory, and all of the organisms that depend on it. The moose, deer, cougar, bears, salmon, caribou… and me.
Slightly Lost Girl recently wrote her own ode to salmon, with information about the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, which would be the largest mine in North America & would introduce more toxicity (including lead, copper and arsenic) into our water systems.
I wish there was an upbeat way to finish this post. Instead, I highly recommend concluding with this 2½ minute video by Doreen Manuel.