Today was the first time the Sophia University’s ecology course held a symposium. At first this sounded a little intimidating and rather tedious, but I have learned a great amount about Kushiro and salmon. It was an intriguing symposium and it made me learn about different people’s perspectives on conservation and sustaining the environment.
The keynote lecture by Dr. Bjorn Barlaup was extremely useful in understanding the book, “Becoming Salmon” by Marianne Elisabeth Lien.This talk reminded me of the book because she had talked about how “becoming salmon” is important to understand the relationship between humans and salmon. As a focus she talked about the specific ways in which one can try to become salmon, and one way was to empathize with salmon. When we read the book in class, I learned key terms and concepts, yet it was hard to connect each concept with salmon farming in real life. Dr. Bjorn used his field study in Norway and his photos along with his explanation helped me understand salmon aquaculture. His lecture made me look at perspectives that I have never thought about before. For example, he talked about the development of the tools and system his research uses in order to count the amount of returning salmon in the Norwegian waters. He said that they are developing and perfecting a way in which they can count salmon without disrupting the salmon, because salmon are sensitive. I’ve never given thought about salmon’s sensitivity; it is admiring to know that as a salmon expert, Dr. Barlaup understands how salmon have their own comfort levels.
The talk by Mr. Kosugi helped me understand the perspective of a conservationist. Since I am writing my research paper about the question of who owns salmon, I wanted to know how conservationists would want to interact with salmon. Mr. Kosugi argued that the water gates of Kushiro River should be lifted because stopping the water flow of such a main and significant river of Kushiro is unnatural. He wants the local citizens to take care and balance the ecosystem. We have heard lectures and gotten tours from organizations such as MLIT and looked at the Kushiro River salmon trap site; the talk by Mr. Kosugi will help me in writing the point of view of a conservationist.
This symposium has helped me tremendously by giving me a deeper understanding of what each perspective of organizations. I notice that each organization and industry has their own reason of doing their job. Even though in the past the MLIT may have been labeled as the “bad” guys, they have their own reasons for doing what they do. There are many contributors in the issue of salmon caring. In recent years, nobody talks about how humans are better than nature, or how nature is a property that is made for humans. Talking about anthropocentrism and ethnocentrism is not simple anymore. I will have to remind myself that not one side is the “good” side, and not one side will always be “bad” people who wants to destroy nature.