It Only Takes A Village To Bring Back The Fish January 2013 ©Russ George
My connection with the people of the Village of Old Massett has been forged in friendship over more than a decade. I have worked on several village projects, including our most recent efforts to restore ocean plankton pastures and protect and restore forest watersheds. In our ocean pasture work I have been engaged in a long and carefully planned scientific R&D project to replenish mineral micronutrients that have been systemically depleted as a consequence of global CO2 emissions. The loss of vital mineral micronutrients has been well documented in the cataclysmic collapse net primary productivity of our ocean pastures and all sea life including salmon.
This past summer through our work to carefully research and develop methods of replenishment of vital minerals the village ocean pasture bloomed.
We have worked to observe, learn from, and mimic Mother Nature. In the summer of 2008, a volcano in the distant Aleutian Islands erupted for several days. Millions of tonnes of volcanic dust with a trace of iron blew in the wind and replenished and restored our ocean pastures. The Earth Science community observed and measured vast plankton blooms which were restored ocean pastures. Salmon that year that swam out to sea we’re treated to a feast instead of what would have been a famine.
Two years later in 2010, the Fraser River sockeye salmon returned in unprecedented numbers. That 2010 sockeye salmon return was predicted to be amongst the lowest number of fish returning in history. Instead we all witnessed a miracle return of sockeye equal to the largest numbers in all of history. We saw how volcanic dust restored marine life in a vast area, two previous volcanos in the last century did the same. The 40 million salmon who swam home in 2010 gave their testimony that a healthy ocean is nurtured by a little dust in the wind, 40 million salmon can’t be wrong.
We undertook the design and implementation of this project over many years with the greatest of care. Our diligence, rigorous scientific standards, and some luck have been rewarded. We now have one of the largest datasets of scientific measurements ever collected (nearly 170 million discrete measurements), over the longest period of time (more than a year), in a well-defined ocean pasture eddy ecosystem.
We are now working with those measurements, collections, and data in the best traditions of science and with the help of leading world scientists here in Canada and from around the world. Our village style science, stewardship, and ocean replenishment and restoration is important work for us and for the planet.
The people of the Village of Old Massett have been present on their ocean pastures for more than ten thousand years. They have always considered the environments that sustained their life and culture as their responsibility. Over millennia, they evolved their own indigenous science, technology, and culture, to ensure they live in harmony with the ecosystems that made their existence possible.
Every village child has been taught that in order to continue to receive the blessings of nature and the salmon one must give back and care for nature. I myself have taught and will teach my Canadian children and grand-children the same sacred lesson that comes from Haida Gwaii, this place where time began.
We are working hard to change public perceptions of oceans as wild places where we go only to hunt and kill or to pour effluents and never give back. We all must become stewards of our ocean habitats. I encourage everyone to inquire, explore, and learn, more about the environmental, political, and scientific topics pertaining to the open ocean. Be open-minded, critically assess and discuss what you read. Together we can find the solutions to replenish and restore the oceans and in doing so bring back the fish.
Our dream is that as the ocean life and fish are replenished their healthy ocean pastures will help address the global problem of high and rising atmospheric CO2 as millions of tonnes of CO2 which today lead to ocean death becomes ocean life itself. Thousands of new fishing jobs will be created catching tens of thousands of tonnes of replenished wild fish valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.