Fishing was once a cornerstone of British Columbia’s economy, but we’ve been hearing stories of diminished runs and out of work fishermen for years. On Cortes Island, the fishing industry seems to mostly be spoken about in the past tense. So producer Roy L Hales set to to find out where have all the salmon gone?

“The Cortes Musem has lists of the commercial fishermen who used to be based here. I counted 41 names working on at least 30 boats during the 1970s. Now there are two boats.”

Only his inquiries took place during one of the biggest chum runs in recent history!

On Cortes IslandL “Hanson Creek is one of the more extreme examples. We’ve seen years where there have been three or four fish, a good year thirty fish. I don’t have the totals yet, but it looks like a couple of hundred for sure ….” - Cec Robinson

What do retired fishermen, Fisheries Canada and Klahoose tradition have to say about the West Coast’s inconsistent salmon runs?

Episode #4: Where Have All the Salmon Gone?

by Roy Hales | Deep Roots

Interviews with:

  • Ken Hanuse, Klahoose First Nation
  • Lynne Jorden, curator of the Cortes Island Museum
  • Joe Jordan, a retired fisherman
  • Ray Kendall, a former marine biologist,  fisherman and former panel member for the Pacific Salmon Commission
  • Cec Robinson, Cortes Island’s streamkeeper
  • Jennifer Nener, the Regional Director of salmon, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Top Photo Credit: Salmon bones by Thomas Quine via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)