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Salmon Vigil to Be Held Saturday
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It’s said that sockeye salmon were so abundant in Redfish Lake 150 years ago that the entire lake looked red—hence, it’s name. The decline of the fish population began in the mid-to-late 1800s with the introduction of commercial fishing for commercial canneries in the Sawtooth Valley.
   
Friday, November 19, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

A vigil for Snake River sockeye salmon will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at Ketchum Town Square.

The vigil marks the 30-year anniversary of when Snake River sockeye salmon were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Enacted in response to a petition submitted by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, it was the first listing for a salmon population anywhere in the United States.

Three decades later the salmon still swim on the brink of extinction—just four natural adult sockeye salmon returned to the Stanley Basin this year, making their way past eight dams and reservoirs, according to Stevie Gawryluk, community engagement assistant for Idaho Conservation League.

The vigil is being organized by the Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, Save Our Salmon and concerned community members. Attendees are asked to bring face masks, posters with messages and stories about salmon to share.

Vigils also are taking place in Bellingham, Wash.; Spokane, Vancouver, Portland and Boise.

Among those who plans to attend the Ketchum rally is Alexandra delis-Abrams of Hailey. She is quick to point out how the demise of the salmon affects other species on earth.

“The salmon provides food for the orcas and today the orcas are starving,” she said. “Everything affects everything on Planet Earth--there's a system here that is perfectly designed. Until humans put their fingers in it and manage to throw it all off, that is,”

“This salmon's journey is absolutely incredible, and there's something very deep and profound about these fish that touches our souls. My daughter-in-law, who is the fifth-grade teacher in Donnelly, wrote a book about the journey of the salmon and it tells in detail the challenges that they go through to follow their innate wisdom through the rivers out to the ocean back again to their birthplace. We need to do everything that we can to support Congressman Mike Simpson’s passion to breach the dams. Salmon don't have 10 years.”

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