‘Artifishal’ Captures Perils of Fragile Fish

Wild fish and the fragile environment that sustains them. That’s the subject of Artifishal, a new film by Patagonia screening at Center for the Arts tonight. In the first few minutes of the film’s trailer, Patagonia…

Wild fish and the fragile environment that sustains them. That’s the subject of Artifishal, a new film by Patagonia screening at Center for the Arts tonight.

In the first few minutes of the film’s trailer, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard reminds us of our proclivity to dominate the land. Meanwhile we see the inner workings of a fish hatchery. It is not a pretty sight. The sounds of banging, a hatchery employee killing a fish with a bat, fill the air.

The role hatcheries play in the health of wild fish is indeed part of this conversation.

The film looks at wild salmon’s threat of extinction. It is a story of humanity’s increasingly fraught relationship with nature. Part of that dynamic includes practices that are endangering the lives of wild fish, like raising fish from hatcheries and fish farms and releasing them into the wild. Hatcheries, for example, produce fish that are genetically different from their wild counterparts. According to Artifishal’s website, they threaten wild fish through increased predation, and competition for food and habitat.

The salmon that figure prominently in this film are not found in Jackson rivers. But the film presents an opportunity to look at the issues facing local bodies of water and their ecosystems. Locally, Snake River Fund works to protect the health of one of the area’s cherished bodies of water. (All proceeds from Artifishal will go to the Snake River Fund.) Jared Baecker is Snake River Fund’s executive director. He describes the Snake River as a lifeblood of the community.

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About Robyn Vincent

Robyn launched KHOL's news department. She has worked as a reporter and editor in Wyoming for the last decade and her work has aired on NPR stations throughout the West. When she's not sweating deadlines, Robyn sustains her nomadic heart by traveling the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow @TheNomadicHeart

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