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“Pacific salmon form an important part of the many bounties of North America’s wild west coast. We all know the epic story of birth in a clear and beautiful mountain stream, the growth of the fingerlings, the journey to the sea, the mysterious years in the deep, distant ocean, then the mass migration back to the place of their birth as handsome, gleaming adults. Then there is the heroic struggle against the current, leaping waterfalls and avoiding capture to the final destiny of courtship, mating and death. The story is almost biblical in its scope. The salmon is really responsible for the possibility of the great west coast aboriginal nations with their highly evolved cultures. It was an important item in the European settlers’ diet, then later in trade and commerce. And now we know of the health benefits of the Omega 3 fats and oils in salmon. Recently there have been sinister discoveries of too high mercury levels. Now many knowledgeable people tell us of the threat that salmon farming is having on this precious wild heritage. Salmon, of course, are an essential element for nourishment for wildlife from grizzly bears, to birds, to other aquatic life and insects. Moreover, scientists have just discovered that the nutrient makes it way through bears, birds and insects to fertilize the giant west coast lowland forest. Salmon rivers have much bigger trees than non-salmon rivers. This fish is so important and integral to society and nature that many people think it should be the poster creature for the Endangered Species Act instead of the spotted owl. Although I have not shown a salmon in this painting, you know that they are there. Some are in the quiet water above the falls and others are
still fighting their way upstream. This is why the grizzly bear and gulls are there. This is the banquet time so important to these species and many others. It is a far-ranging crime against nature and against ourselves to jeopardize the spectacular wild salmon.” – Robert Bateman