The Story Of Salmon Is Rooted In Irish Mythology
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Salmon has been a staple diet for Europeans for many years. Best enjoyed with soda bread and topped with capers, the coral-hued fish is also very healthy besides being tasty. It is rich in protein and healthy fat. Salmon is native to both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans but its roots have been found in Irish mythology.

According to Irish mythology, the first thing to ever come into existence was a hazel tree. It’s believed that the branches of this hazel tree contained all the knowledge of the universe. The tree grew over the Well of Wisdom, in which lived a speckled salmon. Legend has it that the salmon ate the hazelnuts that fell into the well, and obtained all the knowledge of the universe. Predictions were made that the first person to catch this salmon and eat it would acquire this wisdom, and that it would be a man named Fionn.

Many people tried and failed. Finally, a poet named Finnegas, who had spent years fishing in the River Boyne, caught the salmon. He told a young boy named Deimne Maol, who was his apprentice, to cook the fish for him. Maol burnt his thumb while preparing the salmon. He instinctively put his thumb into his mouth to ease the pain and thus acquired all the knowledge contained in the salmon. When he brought the cooked fish to Finnegas, the master saw a glint in the boy's eyes that did not exist before. Maol denied that he had tasted the fish when questioned by Finnegas. When asked again, he admitted to having accidentally tasted the fish. Finnegas was unaware that his apprentice had another name, which was given to him by his mother: Fionn. It was this universal knowledge and wisdom gained from the salmon that allowed Fionn to become the leader of the Fianna, which were warrior bands in Irish mythology. He was later killed on the Boyne.

The mythological story of salmon hasn’t been able to save the fish from threats today. Salmon rely on clean environments to be able to grow and return to release eggs. After spending time in the ocean, it is necessary that they are able to return to their original streams to deposit eggs. Sometimes, they are unable to return because their habitat has been destroyed. This stops them from multiplying and some even die, wiping out any chance of the next generation. Both the Atlantic and Pacific regions have faced this problem. 

Measures have been taken to save salmon that include using compost as fertiliser to keep chemicals out of rivers and streams. ‘Saving Salmon’, an initiative that aims to conserve Atlantic salmon, believes: “The fate of Atlantic salmon is in our generation’s hands”.