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For the love of the salmon

Diplomat and International Canada

For the love of the salmon

Donna Jacobs | December 18, 2017

In the Rideau Club’s windowed room overlooking Parliament Hill, a sold-out crowd of 150, from business people and sports fishermen to ambassadors, ate mounds of land-based farmed smoked salmon, enjoyed fine dining and were captivated by the comically effective auctioneering skills of Rock Fournier.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation’s 21st Annual Fall Run Dinner and fundraiser on Oct. 11 grossed $63,000 for salmon research and conservation to counter the collapse of many salmon populations in Canadian and U.S. rivers and oceans.

Restaurant gift cards, sporting equipment, jewelry, art and clothes were on offer at the silent auction. Live auction items included fishing trips, scotch-tasting and two home-game Senators tickets, donated by Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson, for the 2017-18 season, along with a locker room meet-the-players opportunity.

A dinner for six with Slovakian Ambassador Andrej Droba and his wife, Daniela, at their residence drew lively bidding.

Chung-chen Kung, representative of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and his wife, Triffie, were gladly taken up on their offer for a golf game and dinner for two at The Royal Ottawa Golf Club.

Russian Ambassador Alexander N. Darchiev and Kirill Kalinin, the embassy’s press secretary, attended. As Russia has Atlantic and Pacific salmon populations, the ambassador humorously referred to his participation as “salmon diplomacy.”

Bill Taylor, president and CEO of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, outlined a few scientific and political initiatives in a brief keynote address.

“We are working towards a new conservation agreement with Greenland’s commercial salmon fishermen; we are working closely with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to expand our smolt and adult tracking research to Labrador and Greenland. And we’re preparing to go back to court in Newfoundland thanks to the Newfoundland and Labrador government’s appeal of our legal victory forcing an environmental assessment of the largest salmon aquaculture proposal in Canadian history,” he said.

Only a few weeks afterwards, John Volpe, associate professor at the University of Victoria’s School of Environmental Studies, described aquaculture’s devastating effects on wild salmon in an article in the Victoria Times Colonist. “Over the years, public outrages associated with this industry have unfolded like so many layers of a rotten onion: sea lice, viruses, organic pollution, 10 times the carcinogens in the flesh of farmed salmon versus wild, legal shooting of seal and sea lion ‘pests,’ whales entangled in nets and anchor lines — and the list goes on. This is all unfolding against a backdrop of vehement objections from First Nations.”

Like so many fundraisers — and stay tuned for next October’s dinner — people can do a whole lot of good while having a whole lot of fun.