A weird letter is making the rounds in Lower Mainland newspapers, in which the author tries to explain why salmon are “sacred.”
The author says that like blood in a human circulatory system, salmon cycles “nourish all the ‘cells’ of this part of the world.”
The author also states that “When we say ‘salmon are sacred’, we are not making it so by our declaration. It is so, with or without us.”
Well, actually, that word doesn’t mean what you think it means, Ian Stephen.
Salmon are important. They are an important part of our ecosystem and feed many animals and people. Conservation of salmon – which includes salmon aquaculture – plays an important part of that conservation.
But are they dedicated to a religious purpose? Hallowed by the gods? Sacrosanct?
Where is the line drawn between sacred and ordinary? From your example, is our circulatory system sacred? Are the bears that eat the salmon sacred too? What about the plankton the salmon eat? Is that sacred? Do they make it sacred by eating it, like some sort of piscine immaculate conception?
It’s good that people feel salmon are important. But pushing the discussion about our environment into the realm of theology is, well, kooky.
It’s also a not-so-subtle attempt at special pleading. Make the belief you want to hold untouchable because it’s “sacred,” and no one can question you without looking like a bad guy.
Anyone who dares question it, gets a stoning! A Stoning!
Instead of playing theology with salmon, let’s try and find things we can all agree on. We can all agree that salmon are important. We can all agree that they are an important part of our coast. And we can all agree that we want them here forever.
Conservation of salmon – which includes salmon aquaculture – plays an important part in keeping our wild salmon.
Let’s find some common ground and move beyond the religious, polarizing language. That would truly help the salmon we all love.