Salmon, The Fish That Keeps On Giving
Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, Canada
Vancouver Island is blessed with clean rivers, big trees and abundant wildlife. Nanaimo River is one of those beautiful rivers. It might not seems like it to the casual observer yesterday. Nanaimo River has just had a very successful salmon run, one of the best in years. Springs, Cohos, Pinks and Chums crowded the waters in their imperative to breed and lay eggs in the gravelly beds. If the spawning run was so successful, why the photos of hundreds of dead fish and skeletons littering the gravel, the stench from rotting carcasses thick in the air?
It is a sad fact of the salmon's life that once it breeds it dies. For the wildlife along the river, this is a bonanza. The dead fish feed all manner of animals from black bears down to raccoons. Flocks of seagulls descend on the river banks to pick the flesh clean. When I was taking photos yesterday, two bald eagles were keeping track of my activities.
The contribution the salmon make to the environment doesn't stop there. Animals carry bits of salmon into the forest. This acts as a natural fertilizer to the plants and helps create the massive trees that BC is famous for.
The Pacific salmon stocks are under seige from many directions. Damage to the clean, gravel beds can be done easily. If you look closely at one of the photos, you may see tire tracks in the gravel. Next time you make a meal out of wild Pacific salmon, think about what you can do to help conserve this precious resource.