Ocean lover Peter Mieras of Rendezvous Dive Adventures has gained worldwide interest in his short film I Am Salmon.
The seven minute short highlights the life cycle of wild pacific salmon and their age-old relationship with the Tseshaht First Nation.
The film has already been accepted for the Elements International Environmental Film Festival in Vancouver, the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York and the Smaragdni Eco Film Festival in Croatia.
Mieras hopes his film, filmed around the Alberni Valley, will bring awareness and educate people on the “widespread and intricate relationships salmon have with different stakeholders.”
“I wanted to do something now because the Fisheries Act is being revised, they’re talking about all the problems with the atlantic salmon farms we have,” Mieras said. “That’s how I came up with that idea, I wanted to tell the lifecycle of the salmon and show the different relationships and what impact it has.”
Mieras hopes the film will work as a catalyst for discussion.
“There is a discussion that needs to be done,” he said. “When [people] go fishing here in the Inlet they take that for granted…it’s not about stopping fishing, it’s not against fisherman, we must look at the way we treat wild pacific salmon.”
The film includes a narration by Tseshaht member Willard Gallic Sr. in traditional language that tells the story of a salmon’s life span and its relationship with humans and wildlife. It was important for Mieras to include First Nations history and culture.
“[Tseshaht] were an intricate part of the whole thing right from the get go, and I think that’s the way to do it. I’m not the one who’s going to tell their message,” Mieras said.
Darrell Ross Sr., research and planning associate with the Tseshaht First Nation, provided Mieras with historic Tseshaht information for I Am Salmon.
Ross said the film shows important concepts of First Nation language and respecting all living things.
“Especially the precious salmon that come though the Somass river and provides great food and economic resources for the Tseshaht,” Ross said. “We can never forget that it’s Tseshaht’s stewardship responsibility to preserve the salmon.”
Ross added that the decline of wild pacific salmon is always a concern and that he hopes films like I Am Salmon will encourage people to look at different ways of respecting issues like climate change and to learn from the knowledge of First Nations people.
“I always say a happy Tseshaht has a drum in one hand and a salmon in the other,” Ross said. “That has to continue to happen for hopefully 1,000 years.”