Local Youth Step Up for Salmon

Oct. 30, 2013

Local youth step up for salmon

By the Stewiacke Youth Media Team

We never think of a river as a living thing, do we?

Yet, in a way, it is Itís an ecosystem made up of smaller living things that all co-operate to achieve life and stability.

But the stability of our local rivers has been rocked recently by the Atlantic salmon becoming an endangered species, another creature threatened by the combination of predators and pollution.

Wayne OíNeil, a local fisherman, says 15 to 20 years ago the fish started to disappear, and that it will be a long time before any come back.

Bill Stone and Tommy Watson are two other locals who enjoy fishing, who say itís been a tradition for generations, since the 1800s, and there used to be many salmon in the spring, ďas much a nuisance as bass.Ē

People used to a six-to-eight week salmon fishing season havenít been allowed to fish salmon since the early 1980s and at that time were only allowed a 10-day season.

These fish have been disappearing, and without them, fishermen canít fish, salmon predators are dwindling, and their food is overgrowing. One of the only things standing between the salmon and their devastation is the Ikanawtiket Youth Salmon Habitat Ambassadors.   

The Ikanawtiket is a youth group dedicated to education and cooperation with the public in order to protect and preserve the environment. Right now, theyíre focusing on the Atlantic salmon and are being instructed through traditional and scientific methods on how to maintain salmon habitats.

On Oct. 6 the group erected a sign near the fishing shack by the Stewiacke River, warning fishermen and passersby alike of the salmonís danger, and ways to help. Some ways include not putting garbage into the river; being responsible for man-made debris; do not disturb gravel beds between September and April; if you notice fumes or any toxic chemicals, notify the department of fisheries and oceans (DFO).  

Please follow these guidelines should you find yourself around the river, and help save a species.

Stewiacke Youth Media Team includes Alex Kaminski, Vince Kennedy and Dan Mitchell.