Lest we ever think we understand anything, we don't. In this current era of environmental devastation, when the word "salmon" brings to mind tainted eggs and the disease-infested fish farms, rather than anything anybody would want to put in their mouth, the delicious, nutritious and very-much wild Sockeye variety of the species returned to Vancouver's Fraser River in astounding numbers this year.
"The sockeye salmon returned to the Fraser River in such vast numbers that fishery scientists could scarcely believe what was happening. In July, they predicted a run of 11.4 million salmon. Four weeks later, when the sockeye began massing at the mouth of the Fraser, they bumped up the estimate to 25 million.
Then, on September 1st, as the fish began their arduous journey upriver, researchers came up with a new figure. As many as 34 million fish, they calculated, had entered the river-the largest Fraser River run since 1913."
That's awesome! Specially considering how badly the numbers had been dwindling lately. Just last year, the run was a measly two million, "prompting the Canadian government to launch an official public inquiry into what had gone so terribly wrong." So, phew. And the grizzly bears have got to be psyched, too. (Definitely watch that BBC clip.) But Pringle warns against celebrating too soon. For starters because no one knows why the salmon came back.
Here's a theory: Some spiritual lines got crossed between the time in March when the Winneman Wintu tribe travelled to New Zealand to perform their "nur chonas winyupus," or "middle water salmon dance," to call salmon back to the McCloud River in Northern California, and the fish returned to the Fraser instead, some 2,000 miles up the Pacific Coast.
So, what we need is more middle-water salmon dancing, and better GPS microchips inserted into salmon brains. And soon there'll be enough wild salmon jumping out of our rivers to shut down those nasty fish farms forever. Or at least until demon carp invade the territory and wipe all the native species off the map forever. For now though, it sure looks nice in Vancouver.