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HomeNewsChinook Pursuit Featured in 2024/2025 Salmon Conservation Stamp

Chinook Pursuit Featured in 2024/2025 Salmon Conservation Stamp

The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) has announced the winner of the 2024/2025 Salmon Conservation Stamp Art Competition. Chosen from 19 entries in this year’s competition, Dale Cooper was awarded first place with his submission titled Pursuit. The acrylic painting will be featured on this year’s Salmon Conservation Stamp, a required purchase to catch and keep any Pacific salmon caught in British Columbia’s marine environment.

Curtis Atwater was named runner-up, and Donnie Hughes took home third place in the contest. PSF warmly congratulates all 19 artists who took part in the competition.

“I’m very honoured to be chosen this year. There are some great artists in this competition. I tried for quite a few years, and I got second place about four years ago,” said Dale Cooper, who has participated in the competition several times since 1998.

“When I got the call, I did a double take. I’ve never been so excited about a painting.”

Cooper was born in Portage la Prairie, Man. and now resides in Armstrong, B.C., with his wife. He learned to draw at a young age but put art aside to focus on school. In 1981, Cooper was working for the City of Burnaby’s sanitation department when he suffered a serious injury. He began drawing again to stave off boredom during his four-month-long recovery. Cooper soon enrolled in the Graphics and Visual Design program at Kwantlen College to become a painter.

Now a veteran fine artist, Cooper’s winning entry showcases a pair of Chinook salmon pursuing a school of herring. The painting took him about three weeks to complete with sketches, airbrushes, and acrylic.

“I used about 20 reference images of kelp to get the right texture and what they would look like underwater, and I did the same thing for the herring. The salmon came together really well.”

Cooper began painting with a memory from his twenties in mind – a day he went fishing for cod in the kelp beds of Salt Spring Island.

“I remember we were out, and I hooked a fish. I stood up in the boat to reel it in, and my rod just went smashing down – it was gone. About 15 minutes later, we saw this scuba diver come up about 100 feet away. He said he was watching salmon down there and they were huge! So, that’s the one that got away.”

“Flycast” and other paintings by Dale Cooper are available on Fine Art America

Any recreational fisher wishing to retain any species of wild Pacific salmon must obtain a Salmon Conservation Stamp with their tidal water fishing license. The 2024/2025 Salmon Conservation Stamp, valid between April 1, 2024 and March 31, 2025, can be obtained online or through an Independent Access Provider for $6.46.

Every dollar counts. Purchasing the Salmon Conservation Stamp makes you a key contributor to Pacific salmon conservation, as 100 per cent of the stamp proceeds are returned to B.C. streamkeepers and community groups every year.

Through a landmark agreement in 1989, the revenue from the Salmon Conservation Stamp is directed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to the Pacific Salmon Foundation. PSF’s Community Salmon Program then uses these funds to grant up to $2 million annually to more than 200 salmon conservation projects. Since 1989, PSF has directed $22.7M of the Salmon Stamp’s revenue to more than 3,000 community-led projects across British Columbia with a total value of nearly $190 million.

One example of a recent Community Salmon recipient is the Departure Bay Neighbourhood Association in Nanaimo. In 2021, the society was awarded $33,169 in grant funding to improve salmon habitat in Departure Creek. By diverting water flow toward a backchannel and removing invasive species, the society created 240 square meters of new habitat for overwintering coho salmon. Community volunteers actively participated in planting new riparian vegetation, increasing salmon awareness in the greater Nanaimo area. Water monitoring in the new side-channel now shows a significant increase in the level of dissolved oxygen, allowing multiple species to benefit from an area once devoid of fish.


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