My name is Anissa Reed. I was born and raised on Vancouver Island and I know how fortunate I am to live here. My first favorite job was at a fish farm. I was 15 and took the crew boat on weekends and holidays across Johnstone Straight to Mound Island and then became Assistant Manager of the Larson Island Atlantic Farm by the time I graduated high school. Outside of Telegraph Cove I once saw a newly born orca calf being pushed to the surface for its first breath and heard it squeak. I could try and tell you how the ocean and this coast makes me feel but you would only understand if you have experienced it yourself.
After leaving the Aquaculture Industry out of complete frustration at the environmental disregard and lack of husbandry I went on to study Liberal Arts, Media, Sociology and received a Criminology Diploma. When I finished at Mal-U I found my spirit again on a live-a-board dive boat in the tourism industry. I floundered in the beginning with a too small dry suit and beginner open water certification, popping feet first to the surface working with cinematographer Adam Ravetch. I knew nothing except that I found my heaven right here in my own backyard.
I trained quickly and became a divemaster and also a really great host and naturalist. I met so many amazing people, Carlos Eyles was a favorite and inspiration, and I worked on a few productions and also with an amazing crew from National Geographic. Through it all my biggest gift was being able to share this place with them. I made a real difference to their experience and when I saw that flicker of amazement in their eyes I knew they understood how I felt about it too. Oh we had so much fun and I miss living so free out there, each day different and amazing, but I have a daughter now and wouldn't change a thing.
We spend a lot of time walking at the beach and that's where I discovered sea glass. I started a business and again completely floundered both with my talent and knowledge but I have a lust for diving in, trusting my instincts and everything usually falls into place. It did and the great thing about creating jewelry from things you find at the beach like sea glass is you get to see that flicker in people's eyes. It brings them right back to the beach or water and even though I wasn't there the things I make help them remember the ocean and that is why I love what I do. My company is called Ocean Aura Design because I believe the ocean has an energy and an aura to it. I always want to create out of respect and honor for this place.
That is also what led me to design my Wild salmon. The bones of the fish spell the word wild because I wanted to do something to help bring a louder voice to help wild salmon. I knew what Alex was doing and knew I could do something too. I have grown up listening to many people fight over salmon and I wanted to celebrate the salmon and remind people that they built this coast. They are the "Backbone of the BC Coast" and if we focus on what they need and look after their home they will swim upriver with an unfaltering dedication and provide enough for all of us.
I do not want to hear anymore "Remember When" stories that I heard growing up. If we do not stand up to these Industrial Aquaculture giants I do not know if our salmon will survive. It is the present moment that counts. I am here because this is my heaven and salmon matter to me. I want them to be here for my daughter and her children... and also for the huge black bear who comes into my yard looking for apples when there are no salmon in the river.
I am here with the GET OUT Migration because I know Alex and I know the science and I know that she is a mother like me fighting for her home and environment. I do not wish to be an activist anymore than she does. What we both want is a healthy ocean and wild salmon. My life journey is to celebrate this place and share that with others. I find myself needing to stand beside Alex on this issue because there will be a whole lot less to celebrate if we lose wild salmon.
I hope you join because this is an amazing opportunity to gather our voices together and let it echo through all of Canada and beyond, Wild Salmon matter to us, they are sacred.