“Your time is coming Russ. Just be persistent and keep your focus on the salmon.”
I am of the view that First Nations will be the eventual saviors of this precious heritage.”
Ron MacLeod one of the fathers of Salmon Enhancement. He’s 88 and admits to failing health, but Ron MacLeod’s mind remains as sharp as a well-honed fish hook and his passion for protecting salmon is undiminished. Proof of that lies in a brilliant paper this salmon sage has just written with long-time colleague Al Wood that he hopes will stir a public outcry against government. This is an old warrior who is squaring up for one last fight. And politicians will ignore him at their peril.
His paper, “Epic Fail,” chronicles the decline of Pacific salmon stocks and warns that a total collapse – on the scale of the Atlantic cod catastrophe – is in the making, unless things change. Mr. MacLeod, a former director-general of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, goes beyond doom-saying. He lays out the history of failed government policies that have propelled us to this point, and offers solutions.
In his paper, he urges the public to stop whining about the way things are and start organizing. “It’s going to take an emotional outburst from British Columbians,” Mr. MacLeod said.
As a young boy, Mr. MacLeod went on patrol with his father, a fisheries officer in Tofino. He became a fisheries officer himself in 1956. By the time he retired from the DFO in 1984, he had risen through the ranks to become the director of the department’s operations in the Pacific region – and along with Mr. Wood, he had launched the Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP) a community-based effort that, over 35 years, has breathed life into hundreds of streams and mobilized thousands of volunteers. Though Mr. MacLeod is long retired, he is still actively involved in salmon issues.
Asked if he had ever expected to see salmon stocks fall to the low ebb they are at now, he replied: “Never, never, never.” “Currently … there is no one to speak for the salmon,” Mr. MacLeod writes. “I know there are lots of people in B.C. who feel the way I do,” he said. “They might just rise up.”
But he also knows that B.C. has a profound cultural attachment to salmon. And he is hoping that deep love for nature will translate into massive, determined action.
In a personal e-mail to our Haida Salmon Restoration office he writes to me,
“Your time is coming Russ. Just be persistent and keep your focus on the salmon. I am of the view that First Nations will be the eventual saviours of this precious heritage.”
We promise you Ron we will persist, we will speak for the salmon and more, we will help the salmon return and speak for themselves.