Human beings who eat seafood depend on our waterways for sustenance. Yet, we are our waterways' most treacherous adversary. Exhibit number one is Sunday’s news of a Chinese freighter carrying 65,000 tons of coal and 300,000 gallons of heavy fuel ramming into a southern portion of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This ship illegally strayed more than nine miles from the nearest shipping lane into a restricted area. This sort of criminal negligence raises my blood pressure to critical mass, so I will move on for fear of stroking out mid-article. Now more than ever fish habitat restoration is of vital importance.
Maintaining the natural living habitat of fish we consume in a clean state seems obvious. Nothing could be further from the truth. The conditions of our oceans, lakes, rivers, and creeks have deteriorated to unacceptable degrees. Habitat destruction and chemical pollution are at the forefront of why fish are disappearing. Countless species of fish are at perilously low levels. The quintessential book on fish biodiversity and habitat restoration is Fish Conservation: A Guide to Understanding and Restoring Global Aquatic Biodiversity by Gene S. Helfman. Mr. Helfman combines unsurpassed knowledge of the subject with a deep and intense love for fish. Restoring fish habitats requires funding, participation, community embrace, and patience. Luckily, numerous initiatives and programs countrywide have been enacted to combat this problem. Salmon-Safe is one such program making a difference in the Pacific Northwest.
Salmon-Safe is a non profit organization committed to reconditioning agricultural and urban waterways so that salmon can reproduce and bloom. Salmon-Safe acknowledges farms that play a part in restoring ecosystem health in native salmon fisheries of the Pacific Northwest. The salmon rivers of the Pacific Northwest are extremely rich, producing abundant sustenance. Salmon-Safe has spearheaded the movement to preserve these natural treasures.
Both organic and conventional producers are involved with the organization. In order for a farm or company to be Salmon-Safe certified they must pass a rigorous evaluation. These evaluations are performed by licensed experts on location. When you buy a product with the Salmon-Safe label you know that product was produced in an eco-friendly manner.
Salmon-Safe works with farms and businesses to encourage smarter more conscientious agricultural practices. Farmers are encouraged to plant tress along riverside areas, improve irrigation systems to reduce erosion, and quite obviously make certain that harmful pollutants and toxins do not get into the water. Salmon-Safe has expanded beyond the state of Oregon into Washington, California, and Idaho. They have also certified countless dairy farms that have taken on eco-friendly product producing practices. In the end they care. Being responsible, prudent, accountable, and forward thinking is what Salmon-Safe is all about. These types of programs, if initiated on a global scale, could pull us away from the abyss and reform the broken fishing industry.
We need more organizations like Salmon-Safe to step forward and take care of our waters. It is of supreme consequence. Planet Earth is a shared living environment. At some point the policy of passing the buck will be at an end. The check will eventually have to be paid. Why are our policy makers bent on insuring that future generations will have to deal with catastrophic environmental disaster? I am not. Who is with me?