Much of my time working as a salmon aquaculture campaigner is spent in an office, on the computer or the phone, interspersed with large indoor meetings and presentations. Yesterday was different. Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining the Get Out Migration, an incredible grassroots initiative spawned by scientist Alexandra Morton.
I couldn’t contain my excitement as we left the dock in Campbell River. We were about to join up with the Migration in the Wild Salmon Narrows, a migratory corridor Georgia Strait Alliance has been working to clear of open net-cage salmon farms. Our little crew of three people met up with another half dozen boats as we reached the first three farms packed together at the west end of Okisollo Channel.
A helicopter buzzed overhead as Michelle Nickerson plunged into the freezing water and twice swam the length of Mainstream’s Venture Pt. salmon farm. This was a symbolic gesture for juvenile salmon that are migrating past the lice infested farms at this very moment. People are embracing this journey by land and sea from Sointula to Victoria and celebrating wild salmon in any way they know how; through art, song, community gatherings, filmmaking, blogging, photography, taking to the water and streets, and even swimming past a salmon farm.
But our day wasn’t over, it had only just begun. As we came to the Oksillo rapids, it was clear that this was a day of celebration, as several boats played around in the area’s upwelling nutrient rich water so vital to wild salmon. We then followed Okisollo Channel as it turns south, where we saw the devastation under the Cyrus Rocks farm with an underwater video camera, and the mood became more solemn.
As we moved south through Surge Narrows, spirits once again soared as we joined up with another flotilla, swelling our number of boats to a couple dozen, salmon flags flapping in the wind, horns honking, people cheering for wild salmon, and the helicopter once again recording the excitement from above.
The Get Out Migration has captured the imagination and hearts of communities across Vancouver Island and throughout BC. Yesterday it was evident that the Migration’s tag line, wild salmon are sacred, is at the heart of our west coast culture. Whatever people have in them to give, we are giving it all for wild salmon. We have to, or they will disappear. So stand up and be counted, because if we don’t stand up for wild salmon, no one will.
Filmmaker Twyla Roscovich has produced a video of our day on the water in the Wild Salmon Narrows. Enjoy…
Take urgent action to clear the Wild Salmon Narrows of open net-cage salmon farms!