We are concerned about Atlantic salmon and their future worlds, particularly in Eastern Canada. Our concern has emerged from debates about the ontological status of salmon as either wild or cultured. On the one hand is the argument that salmon should be preserved on the basis that they are natural/wild. This is the basis on which angling associations groups such as the Atlantic Salmon Foundation build their case to protect wild salmon. Making preservation dependent on some idea of the pure is, however, precarious at best given that we live in a world that has been fully worked over. On the other hand is the argument that all salmon are now cultured as a result of decades of hatchery introductions of salmon to rivers. This culturing has so diluted wild salmon populations, the argument goes, that it is no longer possible to distinguish wild from farmed, and that there is therefore no need to protect salmon that live in the sea from salmon that live in aquaculture cages on the Canada’s East Coast. We have questions about how this version of natureculture so easily supports capitalist logic. In this project we explore how to engage with these ontological debates about salmon naturecultures, while at the same time attending to how existing entanglements are framed by, and support, uneven political economies.
Jess Melvin, Nicole Power, Charlie Mather