When I first joined a commercial hook-and-line boat fishing for salmon off the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, in 1976, we began our season in April, moved north through the summer months, and returned home at the end of October.

When I finally retired from that life in 1987, regulations had restricted our fishing to just five weeks in August and September, which was obviously not enough to live on — and not even enough to qualify for unemployment benefit payments.

Today, there is a moratorium on salmon fishing throughout the western United States, and despite efforts by Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans to revive stocks, the number of salmon returning to spawn in British Columbia's rivers is at its lowest level since records began. Fishing for them is, quite simply, no longer a realistic career choice.