Introducing Dene Moore

December 20, 2023

By: Meghan Rooney

Growing up in the Cariboo, salmon season was an event. Whole families would go dip-netting along the Fraser River; friends and family would drop off a fat sockeye for supper.

I lived away for many years and when I moved home a few years ago I was shocked to find fishing closed as often as not, Northern Secwepemc communities at times buying fish from elsewhere to provide to community members.

One of the greatest wildlife migrations on Earth, spawning of salmon in the mighty Fraser River, has been decimated so badly that people can’t fish for food?!

How did it get to this?

I was a journalist for a long time, a career that brought me to many places, from Alberta to Afghanistan, Iqaluit to Kigali. 

Among the stops was a three-year stint in St. John’s as the Newfoundland and Labrador correspondent for The Canadian Press news agency. I arrived on The Rock about a decade after the 1992 cod moratorium was put in place. Ten years and the sense of loss still clung to the very sea air.

Dene Moore has joined the Watershed Watch team as our new communications specialist

Until I visited the silenced but still picturesque fishing villages of the outports, broke bread with the Townies and Baymen, shared stories with the “oil patch widows” whose loved ones had to leave the province to find work, I did not understand what a devastating loss that moratorium was.

Being fishing people was not what they did. It was who they were.

The loss of the cod fishery was a loss of culture. The shock and, for some, shame of seeing that gift from the natural world so decimated was a thing that broke the hearts of many people in a place that has endured much and thrived with little. 

The same is true for wild salmon in British Columbia. It is shameful that in a short time we have brought to the brink of extinction a natural wonder of this world. It is unforgivable that as the scientific evidence mounts, wild salmon continue to diminish.

This year was what has come to be seen as a good year for many wild salmon species. An estimated 1.6 million sockeye returned to the Fraser River – a run that historically would regularly exceed 20 million and had been known to reach up to 40 million. No more.

I joined the small but determined team at Watershed Watch Salmon Society at the end of October. 

For 25 years Watershed Watch has sounded the alarm on the many threats to wild salmon in this province. And they are legion.

Habitat loss, over-harvesting, open net-pen salmon farms, poor hatchery management. And  now each of those is magnified by the greatest threat of all, climate change. 

In her poem “The summer day” poet Mary Oliver, who had made art of her wanderings in the wilderness, asks us:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

My answer is this: I don’t know. But not nothing. I look forward to finding my place on this team, and getting to know the supporters who, like me, believe we can do better.

Share This Story!

Introducing Dene Moore

December 20, 2023

By: Meghan Rooney

Growing up in the Cariboo, salmon season was an event. Whole families would go dip-netting along the Fraser River; friends and family would drop off a fat sockeye for supper.

I lived away for many years and when I moved home a few years ago I was shocked to find fishing closed as often as not, Northern Secwepemc communities at times buying fish from elsewhere to provide to community members.

One of the greatest wildlife migrations on Earth, spawning of salmon in the mighty Fraser River, has been decimated so badly that people can’t fish for food?!

How did it get to this?

I was a journalist for a long time, a career that brought me to many places, from Alberta to Afghanistan, Iqaluit to Kigali. 

Among the stops was a three-year stint in St. John’s as the Newfoundland and Labrador correspondent for The Canadian Press news agency. I arrived on The Rock about a decade after the 1992 cod moratorium was put in place. Ten years and the sense of loss still clung to the very sea air.

Dene Moore has joined the Watershed Watch team as our new communications specialist

Until I visited the silenced but still picturesque fishing villages of the outports, broke bread with the Townies and Baymen, shared stories with the “oil patch widows” whose loved ones had to leave the province to find work, I did not understand what a devastating loss that moratorium was.

Being fishing people was not what they did. It was who they were.

The loss of the cod fishery was a loss of culture. The shock and, for some, shame of seeing that gift from the natural world so decimated was a thing that broke the hearts of many people in a place that has endured much and thrived with little. 

The same is true for wild salmon in British Columbia. It is shameful that in a short time we have brought to the brink of extinction a natural wonder of this world. It is unforgivable that as the scientific evidence mounts, wild salmon continue to diminish.

This year was what has come to be seen as a good year for many wild salmon species. An estimated 1.6 million sockeye returned to the Fraser River – a run that historically would regularly exceed 20 million and had been known to reach up to 40 million. No more.

I joined the small but determined team at Watershed Watch Salmon Society at the end of October. 

For 25 years Watershed Watch has sounded the alarm on the many threats to wild salmon in this province. And they are legion.

Habitat loss, over-harvesting, open net-pen salmon farms, poor hatchery management. And  now each of those is magnified by the greatest threat of all, climate change. 

In her poem “The summer day” poet Mary Oliver, who had made art of her wanderings in the wilderness, asks us:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

My answer is this: I don’t know. But not nothing. I look forward to finding my place on this team, and getting to know the supporters who, like me, believe we can do better.

Share This Story!

Stand with us to defend wild Pacific salmon

Stand with us to defend wild Pacific salmon

One Comment

  1. Rich Ronyecz December 29, 2023 at 3:35 am - Reply

    Welcome Dene ,
    very eloquently said.
    cheers Rich R

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