Salmon Talk

I took off my rain jacket and sat down across from Campbell, or Camp as I call my friend. He was once again staring into his smart phone, violating Rule # 1, which states: ‘Don’t mix leisure time with screen time’ or simpler put: don’t websurf while sharing a pint with your buddy.

“There is nothing to see outside,” Camp grumbled. “It’s dark at 5PM so I check the news on my phone. Listen to this: According to the ‘Paradise Papers’, the rich are parking their money in offshore tax havens, avoiding taxes, once again,” he mockingly elaborated.

“We always knew that the rich have ways to hide their money from the taxman while the working class pays taxes until they bleed,” I said, while at the same time signalling Vicky who was already on her way with two pints. I swear she is telepathic.

“Two pints on the tab boys. Enjoy.”

“On another money issue, do you know what Bitcoins are?” Camp asked, pocketing his phone.

“Not really, it’s some kind of virtual money I think.”

“Bitcoin is a digital currency.” Camp explained. “It cuts out the middle man in payments like banks or credit card companies, which means no transaction or exchange of fees. Like Uber, it’s here to stay. But here is the catch: With the electricity each Bitcoin transaction uses, of which there about 300,000 daily, you could run a fridge for one year. It takes 45 times more energy than a Visa transaction? This is according to Alex de Vries, who is a crypto-analyst, in case you didn’t know. All together the yearly energy footprint of Bitcoin transactions is about 24 terawatthours, which equals the energy demand of Nigeria. Switzerland uses about a third of that..- today. In 2011 one bitcoin was on par with the US dollar, today the same Bitcoin is worth over $ 10’000.

“Blows my mind,” I said. It sounds complicated and unstable and I don’t think we’ll have to worry about paying for our beers in bitcoin.”

On that note we both concentrated on our mugs.

“I bbqued some wild Salmon on a Cedar plank last weekend and Clare raised the issue of Wild Salmon vs. farmed Salmon,” I said. “When I owned the restaurant we had to serve only wild salmon. Nobody wanted farmed fish. Now the pendulum seems to be swinging the other way. It’s about conserving the wild fish stocks now. It’s very confusing.”

“You must have heard about the Cypress Island fish farm collapse back in August resulting in tens of thousands of Atlantic farmed salmon escaping into Puget Sound down in Washington or what about ‘Marine Harvest’, the Norwegian company, which operates over 100 licensed fish farms in B.C.’s coastal waters. I suppose the debate is about if these farmed fish infect wild salmon with sea lice and other diseases and the amount of effluent 4’500 tons of farmed fish produce, or the red pigment they add to their food in order to enhance there natural grey and unappetising colour?”

“Yeah, all of that,” I nodded. “I think the Chileans have 30 times as many aqua farms than B.C. We should just concentrate on ecologically raised fish in closed net pens that minimize harm to wild salmon and the surrounding environment. It could be a lucrative niche market,” I said.

“For the ones who can afford it,” Camp said. “Muriel doesn’t have that problem; she doesn’t like seafood. We should all be glad that we have a choice of what and when to eat and not if,” Camp said, downing his pint. I did likewise.

“What do you think about this latest feeding frenzy over sexual assaults by these celebrities?” I asked, knowing I get a spicy opinion out of my friend.

“Well I don’t doubt it goes on in millions of homes and work places,” he said “and we all know that the glamour business pushes sex and allure. I just don’t believe that we, the public, need to know about all these allegations. We have laws and courts for that. A charge about a drunken sexual advance 30 years ago against somebody who is now rich and famous seems a bit suspicious. Wasn’t it in the nineties when suddenly everybody had a sexual childhood trauma that they could only remember under hypnoses but that explained their present stunted emotional states.”

“I remember. It was almost contagious. You think this current wave of sexual harassment claims is like that?”

“I don’t know but you put those celebrity claims up against the horror of tens of thousands of Rohingyas, who are being raped, maimed and killed and driven from their homes in Myanmar, as we speak. Yes, Harvey Weinstein is a pig and so is that Alabama Senator Moore, but the real tragedies are unfolding in Myanmar, the Congo, Lebanon and Yemen, not so much in Hollywood,” Camp said, shaking his head.

“You have a point there, Camp. Just be glad you don’t own a TV.”

“It just makes it clear to me that we can’t really complain about our corner of this world,” Camp said. “We don’t really have problems here, just situations. We can bitch all day long about the weather and the ferry but then we go home and turn up the heat.”

“Are you two ready for another one?” Vicky asked. “It’s the lack of sunshine that seems to affect you two. It’s called SAD, ‘Seasonal Affected Disorder’. My mom suffers from it.”

“How does she deal with it?” I asked, being one of those afflicted.

“She takes Vitamin D and goes to Hawaii for a month.”

“Must be nice,” Camp grumbled. “How about some sunshine in a glass?”

“Coming right up.”