Protecting Canada’s Wild Fish Stocks and Our Fishing Heritage

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I’m fortunate in that my work, studies and pleasure has given me the opportunity to travel across Canada — East and West, North and South – giving me first-hand knowledge of our country and it’s abundant natural resources.  I’ve also studied Canada’s environmental issues as part of my Masters in Environmental Studies program at York University, which gave me the chance to undertake field research in regions ranging from the foot-hills of the Rockies to the McKenzie Delta in the North West Territories.  It goes without saying that the economic exploitation of Canada’s abundant resources is prolific. 

Having worked summers as a commercial Cod fisher off Cape Breton,   I witnessed first hand how men with hand-made tools can make a living from harvesting Canada’s fish stocks without ever once questioning how their individual efforts could ever cause harm to the infinitely vast environment.  I also experienced first hand that our application of economy-of-scale resource extraction methodologies are little more than a race to earn the biggest profits in the shortest possible period of time. 

I have lived less than half a century and yet in this short period of time, so much has transpired to alter the environment in which we live.  It has given me reason to pause and reflect on what the next half century might have in store.  Is our march towards environmental destruction and resource collapse carved in stone, or can we alter the course industry has set in motion, and return to a mind-set where living within nature’s limits is the norm? 

It turns out a good friend of mine, Alex Sleman, has been having the same thoughts, as we discovered while attending a party one hot summer’s night just north of Toronto.  Over breakfast the next morning with our wives, it was clear the weight of the previous evening’s conversation was still weighing on each of our minds, and before parting we had reached an understanding with remarkably few words that we  would pool our collective resources and skills, and do something. 

(Photo of Alex Sliman, (Left), Lawrence Euteneier (centre), and Emanuele Hoss-Desmarais (right))

This summer had us begin filming.  Alex engaged Emanuele Hoss-Desmarais as the director, who in tern brought on board an amazing photographer and crew, and I wish I could say the rest is history. 

We have now filmed on two separate occasions.  The first shoot took place on a private body of water made available to us by Mitch Ostapchuck and Walter Oscar.  The location was ideal, and I even managed to catch a few Bass on camera.  What struck me after the marathon 12-hour shoot came to an end was just how much waiting and talking is involved, and just how little fishing. 

Our second shoot took place in British Columbia on the Fraser River.  We figured what better fish to represent the message we were trying to get out than the prehistoric swimming dinosaur called the White Sturgeon.  A fish that has lived more-or-less unchanged for over 175 million years.  Sturgeon now finds itself on Canada’s endangered species list everywhere in Canada except for in the lower and middle Fraser, where a unique catch-and-release fishery has been underway for the past 15 years in the name of science. 

(Photo of Lawrence and his guide holding a 6-foot White Sturgeon caught and released on the Fraser River)

There are still far too many next steps for me to even begin to list here.  Needless-to-say, if we manage to finish everything by next fall, I’ll be more surprised than anyone.  The important thing is that we are doing something.  We are putting our money and time where are hearts and mouths are, and we all genuinely want to be a part of safe-guarding Canada’s wild fish stocks and our fishing heritage for future generations.

1 Comment

  1. Alexandra says:

    Beautiful. It is nice to get a fuller sense of both your and Alex Slimans motives for making this documentary. It sounds like it has potential to be great.

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