Monday, 4 June 2018

Salmon - for subsistence and ceremony ... and the one that stayed away ...




Native American cultures, especially the tribes of the Canadian Northwest and Columbia River, revere this fish as it continues to nourish humans and wildlife ...



Atlantic Salmon with 5 Pacific Ocean ones
c/o Pieter Folkens artwork
Who would have thought salmon could be so interesting - apart from good dinners!  The Atlantic salmon I'm used to in Britain (one commercial species) or the Pacific salmon (eight species found in the huge Pacific Ocean), which I now eat here on Vancouver Island ... that difference is obvious - yet the genera are distinct ... interestingly Atlantic salmon are more closely related to certain species of trout.



Salmon Burgers


Their life cycles are similar ... spending one to four years in the ocean before returning to spawn in the stream where they were born.  The young will stay in freshwater streams for up to three years.




Quill Creek in Kluane National Park


They are well named from the Latin verb salire: to leap - for their swimming strength and endurance ... slithering up fish ladders, scrabbling through beaver dams, swimming upstream to spawn ...



Life Cycle of Pacific Salmon
c/o Wiki


... which they've reached using their superb sense of smell - they sense the stream where they were born, ensuring their return to spawn. 



The larger Grizzly Bear



But ... Atlantic salmon are iteroparous, and may not die after spawning, though it is likely as the energies needed to reach their spawning grounds sap their strength ... some will survive.  Pacific salmon will die once they've spawned ... this term is semelparous.


Sockeye Salmon
jumping over beaver
dam




Another two terms ... anadromous fish, such as the salmon, striped bass, and sea lamprey: migrate from the sea up rivers  ... or catadromous fish like eels: go from fresh water to the oceans ... seean earlier post: slippery eels.





Two glaciers in Kluane National Park
The one that got away is the Kokanee: a unique fish ... it has become, over millennia, a landlocked species of the sockeye salmon - an ocean-running fish that has been trapped high in the Yukon mountains ... in the Kluane National Park and reserve ... blocked off from its ocean route by shifting glaciers and plate tectonics ... the native peoples believe their sacred fish will one day return to the ocean, which seems very likely ...


Kwagulth Salmon:
Art work by Tony Hunt at Alert Bay,
BC 1942 (seen in Victoria Art Gallery)


These Pacific Northwest salmon are revered by the indigenous peoples of the inland waterways and coastal areas - having been a significant part of the First Nations economies, religions and cultures - recorded orally, as well as in the living history of their totems and art endorsing this cultural and spiritual identity.




Spawning Salmon building redds on a riffle
see Wiki

Salmon are a key species ... meaning if they disappear, their ecosystems would disproportionately change.  Rotting salmon carcasses transfer valuable nutrients from the ocean to the land: scientists have traced these substances found in mosses, herbs, shrubs, trees, insects, song birds, bears and wolves ... makes you think doesn't it ... that cycle of life - and how we are such a miniscule part.



Black Bear Cub


That wonderful leaping silvery-pink salmon, which play such an important role in life, will return to spawn later in the year ... the bears, bald eagles, sport fisherman and the hungry human will be a-waiting.




Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

67 comments:

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I Have long admired salmon and new much of this - but am fascinated by the idea of the land-locked species. How true, the cycle of life aspect and the interconnectedness of it all... fabulous article Hilary! Read it with fascination. YAM xx

Elephant's Child said...

Oh wow.
I have learned a lot from this post. A land-locked salmon species? Completely new to me.
And how I would love to see fish using their ladders...
Thank you Hilary. Informative and entertaining. Which are the hallmarks of your posts.

Janie Junebug said...

I fell in love with salmon--eating it--when I lived in the Seattle area. It remains one of my favorite foods. Thanks for all the information

Love,
Janie

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It is amazing they know how to find their birthplace again. I'm sure they feed a lot of bears along the way.
I didn't know there was a type of salmon that couldn't return to the ocean.
I do know they are very tasty!

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

That is fascinating about the ecosystem. Now, I want a salmon sampler (of the different varieties).

Botanist said...

We love our salmon and eat it quite regularly. I think you were on the island a little while before Christmas, did you manage to see one of the salmon runs last year? Goldstream, on the way in to Victoria, is a popular destination at that time of year.

Liz A. said...

Such an important fish. I had no idea they were so important to indigenous peoples.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Interesting that they are revered by the Indigenous folk there. You do know that they are also a part of Celtic folklore?

Chatty Crone said...

This was interesting I have never heard of a land-locked salmon species. Completely new to me. I did know they swim against the current to get back and I think their instinct to do what they have to do to survive is also amazing! Interesting. Thanks.

sage said...

I'm now hungry! Interestingly, in the Great Lakes there are salmon that go up into rivers to spawn, but they don't make it to the sea. I think they were planted there.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary
I always love seeing those docos with salmon leaping. So intriguing. And who doesn't love eating salmon occasionally or a lot. Thanks for this post and I hope you keep on enjoying those salmon dinners in Canada!

Denise

Joanne said...

Salmon are fascinating and it was very cool to see them in the wild in Alaska. I also enjoyed a visit to a salmon fishery - the salmon ladders, etc. - amazing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Yamini - thanks I was fascinated by the landlocked species and 'the lore' that they would go to the ocean once again: I think they will ... so glad you enjoyed it ...

@ EC - I'm so delighted this post is meeting with approval ... I hope I'll see the salmon a-leaping this year ... must make a plan. Really appreciate your comment ...

@ Janie - oh it is so good ... and such a delicious meal in all which ways!

@ Alex - it seems to be proven that most do find their birth place to spawn once again. Sadly I don't think I'll get to see bears around catching the salmon - but I might see the salmon run. Nor did I know about the kokanee - but with tectonic plate movement ... it seemed something interesting to write about. They are delicious aren't they ...

@ Holly - yes I was particularly interested in that aspect of their life-cycle ... I'd heard about it ages ago ... but didn't understand it - now I do. And I am having salmon for supper ... but a salmon sampler dish would be good ...

@ Ian - yes I've always loved salmon since I came back from South Africa to the UK I guess ... I don't remember it so well in the 1970s. I didn't get to see the salmon run - I was too late coming across ...mid November - must give it a try this year ... thanks for the shout out re Goldstream ... I've yet to go in there ...

@ Liz - oh yes ... essential to the life of the indigenous peoples ...

@ Sue - it is interesting to find out the lore of the lands ... I'm getting a flavour - these are Pacific Salmon, but I'm sure the Celts loved their Atlantic salmon too. The indigenous peoples are so creative with their art and totem poles - the salmon is very prevalent ...

@ Sandie - it was just such an interesting article to come across, I thought it'd make a good blog post and then I found out so much more ... so I'm delighted you enjoyed it ...

@ Sage - yes me too - I'm hungry now. You're right they did introduce them into the Great Lakes ... I gather they need to be restocked annually ... as they are not sustainable as a commercial fish, yet have led to the development of a thriving sport industry ...

@ Denise - lots of those documentaries are so interesting ... but I came across an article on the kokanee - so couldn't help but want to write about the species, and thus other aspects. While yes eating them is always good - I must go and get my supper organised!!

@ Joanne - you've seen them in the right places ... I've yet to do that ... I've seen various fish ladders - but without the fish!

Cheers to you all - so good that you've enjoyed your read ... even if I've made you hungry!! Hilary

Keith's Ramblings said...

I learned something from the start - Atlantic salmon/trout - and my education carried on from there to the end! Tasty, Hilary


Click to visit Keith's Ramblings!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Very true about the interconnectedness of all life. Fascinating post as usual. Loved the 'fishy' artwork! :) and the etymologies of the words as well.

Hope your week is going well.

bazza said...

I love salmon! It is the most versatile of fish. We eat it baked, poached, smoked and pan-fried - all superb.
I remember getting a salmon burger in West Fourth Street, Kitsilano, Vancouver. They about six different fish-burgers.
They seem to have a unique and intriguing life-cycle; mostly they end-up getting eaten!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s aromatic Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Deborah Weber said...

Wow Hilary, I knew none of this - what fascinating information. I've always felt a little sad for salmon and how excruciating difficult it was to spawn. Their status as a key species and the understanding of how interconnected life is, is something I'll be thinking about now whenever I consider salmon.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Chinook salmon was a favorite when I grew up. (Named after the Chinook Indians.) My uncle used to smoke it and oh my goodness was it good.

Rhonda Albom said...

I have salmon at least once a week. I was told that the salmon in New Zealand was brought here over a hundred years ago and no new stock has been brought in. The salmon farm that told me this said that the disease and problems that plague North Atlantic salmon never transferred here so the farms can operate without the use of antibiotics and other such stuff in the fish food. I have noticed that the salmon here is more oily than that which I get overseas.

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Fascinating - as usual - Hilary. I don't think I knew 1% of that. And neatly illustrated!

Hels said...

Spouse and I don't eat meat, but we do love fish, eggs and all dairy products. Thus I am a world expert at _cooking_ and _eating_ salmon, trout etc etc. But your two photos show that bears are world experts at _catching_ fish!!!

Kim Blades said...

Hi Hilary. A really interesting post. I love salmon and trout and always thought they were similar in looks and taste. I hope there are still plenty of salmon around for the bears and eagles and that they will continue to enrich all the environments that are necessary for so many living creatures. Take care. Kim x

Sherry Ellis said...

I didn't know some salmon survive after spawning. I thought they all died. This is a very informative post. Thanks for educating us!

Kali Delamagente said...

I should have known there were different salmon in Britain--considering ours is called Pacific salmon. Cooked well, I love it. Me and the bears!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Yum, salmon. I must say that I'm not as fond of salmon fillets as I am salmon cakes (the picture said burgers). Still one of my fav foods.

Teresa

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith - thanks ... I was thinking this wasn't the most brilliant post to post - so am delighted by the comments ...

@ Nila - yes that interconnectedness is something we keep forgetting about. I've really got interested in the indigenous art work ... but have always loved words - so thank you .

@ Bazza - yes salmon is so good to eat ... now I'll have to go to West Fourth Street, Kitsilano - when I get over to the mainland! and try those fish-burgers - all six of them!! As you say mostly they end up getting eaten ... but replenish nutrients once they die - interesting way of life ... just glad they've evolved that way.

@ Deborah - species have really evolved so differently haven't they ... and it's interesting to see how each one survives. Yes I too had better start thinking about their key species status and how the humble salmon really sustains so much beyond our own taste buds ...

@ Diane - thank for your note re your uncle smoking the Chinook species of salmon ... I've had some home smoked salmon here and it's very good ...

@ Rhonda - I have it pretty often too. Yes, Chinook salmon were taken down-under and are thriving ... I presume they brought in sea salmon - which shouldn't have parasites ... but it's good to know they are thriving and I'm sure the fish love the New Zealand waterways. Interesting about the extra oiliness ...

@ Mike - thanks ... it was interesting to write up about and to see about the Kokanee ...

@ Hels - I don't eat a lot of meat ... so do eat mostly other foods. Yes, I hope I get a chance to see the bears catching their portion.

@ Kim - yes you get a lot of delicious trout from your mountains - I used to love those. Enough resources are being stretched - so that we leave enough for spawning, as too the wildlife ... as you say so that all environments can be enriched ...

@ Sherry - apparently a few of the Atlantic salmon will live on - must be the very sturdy ones - arduous journeys they make. Glad you enjoyed the post - thanks ...

@ Jacqui - I hadn't really realised the differences ... but writing this up - I should and do now know more. I love salmon - but we must leave enough for the bears.

@ Teresa - interesting you prefer the cakes - we'd say crab cakes or fish cakes in England ... just those burgers look like full burgers - so I called them that. I still prefer the whole salmon pieces ... but usually end up with a fillet - still good though.

Cheers to you all ... I was worried about this post ... so am delighted with your comments - thanks! Hilary

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Lots of interesting information there for me to digest. I think I read somewhere that trees alongside salmon rivers grow three times faster than those where no salmon are present.

Rhodesia said...

Interesting and informative post once again. Well done Hilary. I must say I think salmon is right at the top of my favourite fish though I like all fish. Have a good week Diane

Out on the prairie said...

I choose Pacific over atlantic, but also wild over farm raised. I l;ike the trout, I eat lots of it since it is also my favorite to fish for. They woke me up yesterday at 5am, and so there was no reason to stay home. LOL

Sandra Cox said...

What a wonderful post, Hilary. So much here, I did not know.
Cheers.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great article, Hilary! I learned a lot. I had no idea there were Atlantic Salmon!

DMS said...

I knew some information about salmon- but not all of this. I had no idea there were so many different kinds. Such an amazing life cycle! Thanks for sharing. :)
~Jess

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

A really interesting post, I don't eat seafood but still found this post interesting

Marja said...

Oh what a pleasure to be welcomed by you and be back again and read about my favourite fish. As you know in NZ we are at the Pacific so that was very interesting Interesting how the artwork of all the Pacific people is related. I can see traces of Maori art in that fish as well.

Debby Gies said...

Interesting post on the salmon in Canada Hilary. I much prefer Atlantic, cold water salmon but regardless of taste, salmon has become expensive these past few years. :)

Lenny Lee said...

wow...another really interesting and educational post.

i love salmon. my mom made the best salmon patties. yum! i sure could eat some of them right now.

Crystal Collier said...

Truth, I'm not a huge fan of salmon. I think their journey is inspiring, but food wise? No thank you.

Christine Rains said...

How fascinating! I didn't know there was such a difference between the Atlantic and Pacific salmon. I read up on a lot of Inuit lore about salmon when writing my TOTEM series. There was once the belief that you had to eat a salmon whole, keeping the skeleton intact, and then release that skeleton back to the water so it can go be reborn again.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ John - your comment about the trees having that extra nourishment from the dead and decaying salmon after spawning makes sense ... glad you enjoyed the information ...

@ Diane - yes I love salmon to eat ... and is always good at so many times - be it supper or formal dinners ...

@ Steve - yes definitely wild raised; but I do particularly love trout, sadly don't have access to them here ... they must be around though ... I need to find a fisherman obviously! Good alarm call I'd say they were ... to go and join them ...

@ Sandra - glad you enjoyed the information ...

@ Sharon - thanks ... yes if that's what you had in England - then it'd have been some Atlantic salmon ...

@ Jess - there's a lot more to the salmon, but I 'picked its bones' ... poor things! I hadn't realised it was a key species - then things made sense. While the life cycle has always fascinated me ...

@ Jo-Anne - that's great you found out about some interesting things, even if you don't eat seafood ...

@ Marja - just glad you had a happy trip home ... it was lovely seeing the photos of you and the family. I love salmon ... and yes you have the same type we have up across the ocean here. I'm sure aboriginal/indigenous art must correlate in some ways ... makes sense - though how the influence occurred a few centuries ago ... it would be interesting to know more about.

@ Debby - even in England I preferred salmon from good fishmongers ... and here I'm finding similar thoughts - still I enjoy it ... and have it occasionally.

@ Lenny - thanks so much ... fascinating to read your mother made excellent salmon patties (another word for 'cake' or 'burger' of the savoury sort) ... too early for me - but I'll have a fillet tonight ...

@ Crystal - luckily we all have different tastes ... I'd happily eat fish all the time, now I'm on a dairy farm ... so have excellent meat ... which I do enjoy ...

@ Christine - oh thanks for the extra information ... I haven't read up on the indigenous lore ... but can quite imagine what you're saying about releasing the skeleton back into the water, so it can be reborn again ...
I hadn't realised your TOTEM series included these aspects ... I'll have to have another look at the books ...

Thanks so much everyone - lovely to have your comments - cheers for now - Hilary

cleemckenzie said...

Well, I learned a lot here today, and you're right about the salmon being so interesting. Latin salire as the source of their name, and the difference between the Atlantic and Pacific salmon...so interesting. Thanks, Hilary.

Tara Tyler R said...

i’ve always like salmon - and now i know a ton more about them - important fish, indeed
and being from the Atlantic side of the US - good to hear the Atlantic salmon are survivors, ha!

happy Wed!
Tara Tyler Talks

Mark Noce said...

I eat Pacific Salmon all the time, luv it:) It's also sustainable and wild caught. Can't beat that:)

Elsie Amata said...

Salmon is in my top three favorite fish to eat. I had no idea there was so to learn about them. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, Hilary!

Elsie

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Hi-ya, Hilary. Super post! I'd never heard of a land-locked species of salmon before, so that's really interesting to know. I hope you get to see the salmon splashing up the ladders soon... and of course, you take pics to share with the rest of us. Salmon is probably my favorite kind of fish, and my favorite way to have it is called Salmon Yvette. The dish contains mushrooms, spinach, crawfish, grilled shrimp and a delectable sauce.

Now ya did it. I'm hungry... and I just ate lunch. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lee - so good to see you ... it was so interesting to write up about ... but so much more technical stuff I could have added in ... but KISS is the norm around here! That difference between the Atlantic and Pacific salmon type was fascinating to know about ...

@ Tara - oh I love salmon ... and being a keystone species then they are very important in the cycle of life. Good to know you're on the survivor side with the Atlantic close by ...

@ Mark - it's very good for us and for your kids ... we're just lucky to be able to enjoy it ...

@ Elsie - I love fish ... all sorts ... but once I got writing about them - then my own learning kicked in ...

@ Susan - the Kokanee was what set me off on writing about salmon - but hadn't quite realised what I was letting myself in for. I hope I get to see salmon splashing and thrashing their way up a fish ladder or two ... and yes if I remember my iphone camera - always a challenge - then ye shall have pics!

That recipe for Salmon Yvette sounds very good indeed ... love that sort of sauce - in fact might try to simulate it here ... I have a plain fillet waiting for me for supper ... I do enjoy that sort of food ... mine will be done more simply ...

Thanks so much for visiting - delighted you all enjoy your fish and particularly salmon - cheers Hilary

troutbirder said...

Living a long way from any ocean our salmon meals come from the fish market. We love the taste and better yet all my healthy eating books say salmon is very good for you...:)

Chrys Fey said...

That image of the salmon burgers really made me hungry. It is dinnertime, too. ;)

Bish Denham said...

Everything is so beautifully interconnected. Who knew that substances from salmon can be found in mosses and song birds!

Lynda R Young said...

Salmon a pretty nifty fish. They taste awesome too ;)

dolorah said...

Wow; there really is one that got away!?! I like Pacific Salmon, but the hubby likes Sockeye. Maybe cuz I leave it in the freezer while I'm gone and he doesn't have to shop for it, lol.

B Pradeep Nair said...

Salmonds are not inherently Indian. But it's now quite popular. A lot of it comes from Norway. It's quite tasty.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Troutbirder - well it's good you can get salmon in the fish market ... and yes they are such an easy and good fish to eat ...

@ Chrys - Thanks, I thought the salmon burgers looked good too ...

@ Bish - I was surprised to read about Salmon being a keystone species ... but it makes so much sense - also the bears take the salmon off into the woods to eat there ... but their dung then also feeds nutrients back into the soil ... as you say so interconnected ...

@ Lynda - they're a delicious fish aren't they - and hardworking too ... fighting their way back up river ...

@ Donna - yes ... it is 'stuck' up in the mountains of the Yukon - but looks likely to return to the seas ...

@ Pradeep - no I realise salmon aren't found in India - but interesting to know you get it from Norway ... amazing trade!

Thanks everyone ... and with Pradeep's comment about Norway trading salmon into India ... that interconnectedness gets ever wider ... cheers Hilary

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Fascinating, Hilary. I didn't know about the differences in salmon. Thank you for all the information so beautifully illustrated.

Sandra Cox said...

I'd never thought about fish having sense of smell.

diedre Knight said...

Hi Hilary!

We love salmon at our house and have it (grilled) once or twice a month. Two things struck me here, the connection to Songbirds - Wow!- and the ability to somehow adapt/adjust means of existence after being landlocked! I tend to believe, along with our Native Americans, that nature will one day provide renewed paths for all creatures.

Julie Flanders said...

The landlocked salmon is so fascinating. Amazing how these things happen. Everyone in my family LOVES salmon and gobbles it up like those bears at the falls but I hate it. Not a fish fan here. I feel like I'm really missing out but I just can't help it LOL.

Rebecca Douglass said...

Cool info! I never heard of the Kokanee, but that's really interesting! Salmon (fresh, wild-caught) is my favorite seafood, so I hope we can manage our take in a way that keeps them forever spawning! River restorations are an important aid, too--like taking the dams off the Elwa river in Washington.

Susan Kane said...

So much info! Salmon impact so much of the environment. Who knew?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Monti - thanks I enjoy 'sort of illustrating' my posts - so the concept of each one is easier to enjoy and understand ...

@ Sandra - nor had I ... til I saw a programme on the Great Barrier Reef - where it was discussed ...

@ Diedre - I just love salmon, but thankfully I alter my diet quite often ... veggie, pasta and now here a bit more meat - but farm meat is so good.

The Keystone species element really did inform me ... I'd heard about salmon affecting trees ... but hadn't realised the hows and the whys ...

In fact the land is changing ... but I think I'll write about that .. as an adjunct to this post ... shortly ... and I'm sure so much lore that is truth/ will come about ...

@ Julie - it's taste ... it's sad if you don't like fish ... at least the family do! You are missing out - but of course we're happy with that ... more for us!

@ Rebecca - I hadn't heard of Kokanee until I read an article and then read up more about the salmon - something I've been wanting to write up about - and of course ... it's 'spawned' lots of other ideas!!

Then I see the Elwha River is just across the water from here in Olympic Park area ... my geography knowledge is increasing ...

@ Susan - good to see you ... yes I was amazed at the effect salmon have on the environment ... I didn't know!

Thank you and cheers to you all ... so glad this post resonated and informed ... it has me: Hilary

C.D. Gallant-King said...

This is wonderful. I'm reading it David Attenborough's voice. Or maybe David Suzuki. I switch back and forth.

Lynda Dietz said...

I've always been fascinated by salmon and their journey. Thanks for telling us a bit more about them!

Vallypee said...

Super post, Hilary! After all the effort the poor Salmon go to,it seems a shametoeat them...well, I don’t myself, being a veggie, but it’s no surprise it’s expensive

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Seriously, Hilary, you have the most intriguing posts I've ever seen. I LOVE the photography of the natural parks and streams and mountains. I've got to try those salmon burgers. I like salmon and it's supposed to be so good for you. Thank you so much for another informative post. All best to you.

David Gascoigne said...

Grilled salmon with a little dill, a glass of cold Chablis, a tomato garlic salad with a little sweet onion - I don’t even believe in heaven, but that is as close as it comes!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ CD - thank you ... I'm honoured, but having checked out David Suzuki ... even more honoured - thank you! David Suzuki is a Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist ... I'll happily roll along with those two giants of broadcasting and environmentalists ...

@ Lynda - so glad I could enlighten you a little about their life's journey ...

@ Val - it does seem a bit rough to eat them .. but they are so good - I'm glad sometimes I'm not a veggie - though am less of a one out here.

@ Victoria Marie - thanks ... I just find things that intrigue me and off I go to write - sometimes getting myself in an awful muddle ... many come out in some format, others are rejected or left in the slush pile! I like to illustrate my posts - makes them easier to read and understand - so thank you ...

@ David - yes a glass of chablis now would be good - but I do love salmon and eat a fair amount of it ... with a salad - yours sounds good ... and your idea of heaven watching the birds as the sun sets - would suit me ...

Thanks so much to you all for visiting and commenting - cheers Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh! I hadn't known that about the Kokanee fish now being landlocked. And I hadn't realised that that's where Kokanee beer gets its name from!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deniz - yes ... I was surprised by the name - now I see it everywhere and as you say on the beer cans too ... but the information was very interesting to read up about, especially the landlocking - which may already be changing ...

Cheers Hilary