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Gradually then suddenly the world changed. While the acute public health crisis we’re experiencing will pass, no one knows what the new normal will look like or how long it will take to heal the wounds inflicted by coronavirus. In these uncertain times, I want to reassure you that one thing will remain constant: ASF is here and we will continue our vital work on behalf of wild Atlantic salmon and the people who depend upon these remarkable fish for their livelihood.
Like all organizations, we’ve had to adapt. The health of our staff, Directors, members, volunteers and their families is our top priority. Following the advice of experts, we cancelled our in-person spring dinners and have closed our offices. ASF’s full staff is working from home until it’s safe to reopen. This is an adjustment for many of us, but a necessity.
We’ve heard from our volunteers and supporters how much they will miss our spring events. These get togethers in Boston, Freeport, Montreal, Toronto and throughout Atlantic Canada often mark the turning point from winter to warmer weather, signaling days on the river soon to come. These events will return. In the meantime, the ASF development team and our dedicated volunteers are working tirelessly to develop thoughtful and creative alternatives.
Beyond events, the social distancing and stay-at-home orders we are all following impact our operations as well. In April, ASF scientists are usually staged on rivers like the Cascapedia, Miramichi, and Restigouche, tagging and tracking salmon as they head for the sea. We’ve been doing this since 2003 and right now our researchers are designing flexible plans that will allow us to get on with this important work as soon as we can do so safely and responsibly.
With in-person meetings cancelled and travel for ASF staff suspended, we have an opportunity to share more of our work with the wider community. Expect to hear from us regularly in the coming weeks with interesting and engaging blogs and photo essays from all the regions where we work. We hope these stories are enlightening. Please help us share them widely, in hopes of inspiring more people to join the international wild salmon conservation movement.
Together, with guidance and support from ASF’s Directors and members, we will push through this rare and troublesome time. Since our founding in 1948, ASF has effectively navigated many crises. Our experience tells us that there is wisdom in the simple World War II British maxim – keep calm and carry on. You can count on us for that.