I’ve been working with Patagonia Provisions, the new food division of Patagonia, for several years now, but this week was a real milestone. As the first fish producer (the hot smoked salmon is already available) to actively work with fish conservation organizations, Patagonia Provisions convened their first annual Salmon Sourcing Advisory Board meeting in Ventura. The goal was to assess Provisions’ current salmon sourcing and chart the course of future options.
For me, it was a chance to hang out with some of my fish conservation heroes, and learn about the options for truly sustainable salmon products. Salmon harvest is probably the most complicated food sourcing issue in the world, but the experts came with encouraging ideas and a ton of information. It was a fantastic brainstorming session, and I left the meeting with a new optimism.
This is a picture I snapped of, from left to right, Mike Moody (Native Fish Society), Dune Lankard (Eyak Preservation Council), Kurt Beardslee (Wild Fish Conservancy), Bruce Hill (Headwaters Initiative) and Dr. Carol Anne Woody (Fisheries Research Consulting). My hope is that this was the first of many gatherings, and that the business itself will have a positive impact on the salmon industry.
The Skeena River in British Columbia is one of the last great strongholds of wild salmon and steelhead on the Pacific coast. Unfortunately, it also happens to flow through some of the most resource-rich regions in the world, and makes a perfect conduit to Asian markets for tar sand oil from Alberta. The threats to this vital watershed are many and ongoing, but in light of Royal Dutch Shell’s withdrawal from the Sacred Headwaters earlier this year, and the recent eviction of Fortune Minerals from the same area by the Tahltan First Nations, thought I would post this video.
I met Rachel Van Zanten at a small party of enviros in Vancouver a few years ago. In addition to being a kick-ass slide guitarist and singer, she’s from the Skeena Country and has been working to protect her home waters. You can feel Rachel’s commitment in this song. Her video features some incredibly moving footage of the Tahltan elders’ heroic (and ultimately, successful) protest of Shell’s coalbed methane project in the headwaters of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine Rivers.
Lots of inspiring work going on up there, led by First Nations and conservation groups like the Headwaters Initiative, Skeena Wild, Watershed Watch, Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition and others. If you fish the Skeena and want to see it survive, please click on the links above and find out how you can support the effort. But really, saving a world treasure like the Skeena should matter to us all.