Wild Pacific salmon catches down 80%, according to Indigenous elders

Wild Pacific salmon catches down 80%, according to Indigenous elders
A sockeye salmon jumping the falls on the Meziadin River, B.C. Credit: Andrea Reid

Wild Pacific salmon catches are one sixth what they were 50–70 years ago, Indigenous elders report.

Employing Indigenous research methodologies, Nisga'a citizen Dr. Andrea Reid (she/her) interviewed 48 knowledge keepers from 18 First Nations across the Fraser, Skeena, and Nass rivers.

They identified leading threats to salmon, including aquaculture, , and , with 26 knowledge keepers reporting estimated catch sizes.

Many of the communities identify as "Salmon People," illustrating the importance of fish to their identity and culture, says Dr. Reid. Indeed, those interviewed perceived threats to salmon as threats to aquatic health and people's well-being.

What are Indigenous research methodologies?

Using the four "Rs" (respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility) as , these methodologies ensure research is conducted with—not on—Indigenous communities. This study partnered with communities, reciprocated learning, and ensured the elders retained control of the information, which was treated as expert knowledge, valid in its own right.

This study, published in FACETS, highlights the expertise of Indigenous knowledge holders, says Dr. Reid. With ongoing wild salmon declines predicted, one solution could be to turn, or return, to Indigenous leadership in caring for salmon systems.

Wild Pacific salmon catches down 80%, according to Indigenous elders
Seated Tŝilhqot’in elder with walking stick at Tl’etinqox Culture Camp. Credit: Andrea Reid

More information: Andrea J. Reid et al, Learning from Indigenous knowledge holders on the state and future of wild Pacific salmon, FACETS (2022). DOI: 10.1139/facets-2021-0089

Citation: Wild Pacific salmon catches down 80%, according to Indigenous elders (2022, May 13) retrieved 22 June 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2022-05-wild-pacific-salmon-indigenous-elders.html
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