B.C. environmental documentary maker and wild salmon advocate Twyla Roscovich dies
The B.C. environmental community is mourning the loss of one of its most skillful documentary filmmakers.
The body of Twyla Roscovich was found after she had gone missing near Campbell River, according to her Facebook page. No foul play is suspected.
The Sointula filmmaker and photographer was 38.
A GoFundMe page has been created to raise money for her daughter, Ruby Lynn Ross.
"Twyla is so loved. This coast that she lived and fought for with all of her heart is now a lonelier place for her passing. She left us too soon," the Facebook page states.
Through such films as Salmon Confidential and BC for Sale, Roscovich combined spectacular imagery, evocative music, crisp writing, and her foreboding narration to convey how oil pipelines and diseases from farmed Atlantic salmon threatened Pacific wild salmon.
Roscovich worked closely with biologist Alexandra Morton and always ensured that views of First Nations were included in her work.
BC for Sale, which was released in advance of the 2009 election, was ahead of its time in highlighting how the B.C. Liberals were so deeply enmeshed with the corporate sector.
Roscovich's film reflected what many environmentalists thought. But it took eight more years for enough of the public to embrace this notion and throw the B.C. Liberal regime out of office.
Corruption and corporate deal-making became central issues in the 2017 provincial-election campaign. This was because Roscovich and others spent so many years planting this idea in the public mind.
But foremost in her films was her love for Pacific salmon and everyone and everything that depended on these species. This included First Nations, commercial and sports fishers, marine mammals, bears, and eagles.
This was reflected in another of her videos, Oil On Our Coast, which helped galvanize public opposition to the Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. Last year, the Trudeau government vetoed the project.
Roscovich didn't overlook the science. In a 2013 article for the Georgia Straight, she educated readers about a pathogen called called Piscine reovirus. It initially appeared in Norwegian fish farms and later showed up in wild salmon on the B.C. coast.
She concluded that this virus was imported by the salmon-farming industry to B.C. waters.
Another Roscovich article for the Georgia Straight focused on a lab that tested for Infectious Salmon Anemia. It was stripped of its federal certification.
This came after its director had testified at the Cohen commission looking into the impact of aquaculture on West Coast salmon.
Scientific findings were also prominently featured in Roscovich's films, which is one reason why they struck such a chord.
But an even greater factor was their emotional impact.
Roscovich had a way of conveying in her documentaries that West Coast culture itself—of which wild salmon is at the centre—is seriously jeopardized by fish farms and pipelines.
Her voice rang out in her films with authenticity and passion. The scripts were notable for their clarity. And the imagery was simply magnificent.