Thousands of Canadians followed the riveting story of how the farming of Atlantic salmon came to B.C.

Season 1 of The Salmon People podcast told the story of a 30-year battle to save Canada’s wild salmon. Journalist and CNO’s managing producer Sandra Bartlett’s investigation took listeners into the waters off Vancouver Island, where juvenile wild salmon travel past fish farms on their way to the ocean.

Bartlett spoke to biologist Alexandra Morton, who was the first to start putting together why fewer salmon were successful in making the journey to the ocean and returning to spawn the next generation. The 10-episode series untangled science and politics to show how diseases and organisms from fish farms had a deadly impact on wild salmon.

When Season 1 ended, Joyce Murray, who was then federal fisheries minister, had given fish farms a two-year window to grow their fish and close the farms.

Now Season 2 is here with some startling stories about the division among First Nations on the removal of the fish farms. Bartlett documents the tumultuous journey of Murray’s final decision, which came after six months of consultation with First Nations, industry, scientists and all interested parties.

“Everyone knew 2023 would be a key year in the fight to remove the fish farms. But they couldn’t know just how crazy things would get. And so I had to come back,” said Bartlett in the newest episode, CSI Tofino.

The episode takes us to Tofino, on the west side of Vancouver Island, where we get to follow Dan Lewis of Clayoquot Action, a conservation group that keeps an eye on the fish farms in the area.

On the journey, we also meet Skookum John, who draws an intersection between First Nations’ fight for food and his experience in residential schools in the area.

The Salmon People was named a Webby Honoree at the 27th annual Webby Awards and a finalist for the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Jackman Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

The Salmon People podcast is back! Season 2 unpacks startling stories about the division among First Nations on the removal of the fish farms. Find it wherever you get your podcasts.

The podcast also received two nominations for the 8th annual Digital Publishing Awards in the categories of the best current events podcast and best arts, culture and society podcast.

You can listen to Season 2 by searching for The Salmon People on your go-to listening app. You can also listen again to Season 1 if you like.

Keep reading