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Tuesday
Jul022013

Return of the Okanagan Sockeye

In the current issue of Canadian Geographic, The return of the sockeye salmon, is a story I worked rather hard to get into print.

I have to give credit to a wonderful fishmonger in the Okanagan Valley, Jon Crofts of Codfather's Seafood Market. He tipped me off to the story that was developing, and provided some very useful background and contacts about a year ago to this day. He not only spent time on the phone getting me up to speed on various fishery-related issues, we met a few times in person, and he patiently answered my naive questions about how ocean-dwelling fish could end up in a fresh water lake system 1000-km from the Pacific.

As I pursued the story, there were some challenges just getting to the right people who would facilitate a visit to the fishing camp on the north end of Osoyoos Lake, in the Okanagan Valley (British Columbia, Canada's, southern interior). After a month of back-and-forth on the phone with various people at the Okanagan Nation Alliance, I was invited to tag along on the purse seiner on the very last day of fishing for 2012. I immediately called up Bruce Kemp, an award-winning photographer in the Okanagan Valley, Bruce  cleared his calendar on a moment's notice, so he could join me and we were able to capture the story together.

A year later...here's the story. I'm pleased that Bruce and I could bring this story into being, in a major national publication like Canadian Geographic. It's a rare, good-news fishery story in Canada. There are still some major hazards and roadblocks in the way in the salmon's complicated journey back to this once-abundant terminal fishery in the Okanagan, but as an optimist, I choose to believe that the salmon have returned to the Okanagan, to their First Nations communities, and to our lakes and streams.

The Return of the Okanagan Sockeye Salmon

Click to go to Canadian Geographic July 2013 / Return of the sockeye salmon

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