On July 25th, Water First took part in a public screening of Patagonia’s newest documentary, Artifishal, at the Station on the Green in Creemore. The event was well attended by both the general public and local water stewards, including the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) and the Nottawasaga Steelheaders. Patagonia and the NVCA are currently working together to protect native trout habitat at the headwaters of the Nottawasaga River.
Artifishal is a film about the demise of wild salmon around the world, and “the high cost—environmental, financial and cultural—of hatcheries and fish farms, and our mistaken reliance on human-engineered solutions.” The film explores the importance of keeping wild spaces wild, and the consequences hatcheries and fish farms have had on human and natural communities that have always relied on the salmon. The film showed both the strength and fragility of nature and the human-nature relationship through salmon over time. It also illustrated that unless something changes very soon, the current practice of industrialized fish farming will cause the complete collapse of wild salmon worldwide.
Salmon and steelhead are keystone species to indicate the health of watersheds because they require cool, clean water to live. The Great Lakes are home to wild populations of West Coast salmon and steelhead, and the Nottawasaga River is an important spawning ground for both species. Our local watershed needs our protection. The NVCA hosts several days each year working with volunteer groups like the Nottawasaga Steelheaders to restore habitat integral to the health of the river.