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Salmon Federation dinner pulls in a catch of $75,000


Around Town: Salmon Federation dinner pulls in a catch of $75,000

Caroline Phillips
Published on: October 11, 2014

Fiona Gilfillan adores fishing. You could even say she got “hooked” after her first time salmon fishing on the Gaspé Peninsula last year at Camp Bonaventure. The fly-fishing lodge is part-owned by Ottawa’s Dan Greenberg and his wife, Barbara Crook.

“I love it, I really do,” the retired high-tech executive said at the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s annual Fall Run Dinner, which raised $75,000 at the Canadian Museum of History on Wednesday.

“It’s the beauty, the peace and the fun of having a fish on the line and fighting it,” said Gilfillan while describing the waters there as “gin-clear” and clean enough to drink.

She’s a member of the dinner organizing committee, chaired by Dawson Hovey, and was among a group of fun-loving gals who got up on stage to perform as part of the musical Salmon Sisters. They were led by Crook, seen earlier with Greenberg and their Icelandic outfitter friend, Axel Oskarsson, in matching Viking-horned helmets and Ottawa Senators jerseys.

The ASF is a non-profit organization that advocates for the protection of wild Atlantic salmon, whose population is under constant threat. It also actively promotes the “catch and release” concept.

“Today, in 2014, every fish counts. The more fish we release, the better the chances of having more fish come back (to spawn),” said ASF program director Charles Cusson. “The Atlantic salmon are like the canary in the coal mine. If something’s wrong with the environment, they’ll tell us by struggling.”

The number of wild salmon has dropped and the ASF suspects it’s due to increased commercial fishing activities in Greenland. Each year, many salmon make the improbable journey to as far as Greenland’s coastal waters to feed before returning to North American rivers to spawn.

Other attendees of the dinner included local Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre (Nepean-Carleton) and Liberal Nova Scotia MP Mark Eyking (Sydney-Victoria). Irish Ambassador Ray Bassett and his wife, Patricia, who last year offered to host an embassy group dinner, were back as guests. They were seen mingling with Icelandic Ambassador Sturla Sigurjónsson and his wife, Elin Jonsdottir, who were among the diplomats to make the same dinner donation to this year’s live auction.

Also sold off for charity was a 200-level suite to a Sens game and fishing trips to the Gaspé and Iceland.