Unreserved

Deep dive: What happens when the salmon stop coming home

Salmon is a staple food for many Indigenous people in the Pacific Northwest. The fish has been the subject of song, story and artwork for thousands of years. It is also a symbol, of fortitude, and self sacrifice. But in recent years, the mighty salmon has been facing some scary realities. 
With declining numbers of sockeye salmon, many commercial fishers are diversifying, catching chum salmon. (Jennifer Chrumka/CBC)

Salmon is a staple food for many Indigenous people in the Pacific Northwest. The fish has been the subject of song, story and artwork for thousands of years. It is also a symbol of fortitude, and self sacrifice. But in recent years, the mighty salmon has been facing some scary realities. 

This week on Unreserved, a deep dive into the ripple effect of the dwindling fish stock, as we find out what happens when the salmon stop coming home. 

It used to be that tens of millions of vibrantly coloured wild salmon could be seen swimming to the upper reaches of British Columbia rivers to spawn. This fall, there were fewer than 300,000. That's the lowest number of wild salmon ever recorded. And that's cause for huge concern. In her documentary, Swimming Upstream, the CBC's Jennifer Chrumka explains how First Nations, fishers and environmentalists are working together to turn the tide. 

A shortage of China Lily soy sauce is causing panic in some coastal Indigenous communities in British Columbia. The Canadian made seasoning is a favourite along with salmon and rice. But unfounded rumours that the soy sauce factory might shut down has resulted in wide-spread outages. The CBC's Carolina de Ryk digs into that story. 

A new program at Elijah Smith Elementary School in Whitehorse is immersing kids in traditional food preparation. The Yukon First Nation Education Directorate is organizing the camp where students learn to filet fish and make dry meat. The CBC's Mike Rudyk headed to the school to pick up a few tips. 

Last year, UBC journalism students in the Reporting in Indigenous Communities course worked with local First Nations to tell stories about climate change. Alhandrina Alvahrez and Riley Tyosfold bring us the story of how Carrielynn Victor and a small team of volunteers are working together to save Fraser River salmon.  

This week's Playlist
Saltwater Hank (Submitted by Jeremy Pahl)

Snotty Nose Rez Kids - Fish and Rice

Saltwater Hank - Fish Cannery

Mato - Salmon

 

now