Today the President took action to protect one of America's greatest natural treasures by signing a Presidential Memorandum to protect Bristol Bay. One of Alaska's most powerful economic engines, and home to one of the world's largest wild salmon runs, Bristol Bay has helped sustain Alaska Native communities for centuries. And every year, the region provides 40 percent of America’s wild-caught seafood, supporting $2 billion in commercial fishing.
Aspelund says BBRSDA will probably take another survey of its members before commissioning a second study.
The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association may commission a second, more in depth study on the idea of reducing the size of the drift fleet in the Bay through a buy back, but will hear first from the fleet before moving forward.
A struggle in Alaska over shrinking supplies of halibut is threatening the iconic centerpiece fish in favor of cheaper exports, fast-food fillets and fish sticks.
If expected cuts are made in January, halibut fishing could be over in the Bering Sea west of Alaska, the source of one-sixth of halibut caught in the United States. That catch includes most of the frozen supply that sustains restaurants, food-service companies and retail stores nationwide, such as Costco and Whole Foods.
Alaskans know that Bristol Bay is all about wild salmon. For thousands of years the people of Bristol Bay have thrived on this bounty and for more than 130 years, it has supported a major sustainable commercial fishery that supplies the world. Bristol Bay produces 50 percent of the world’s sockeye salmon, making the region of true global importance.
The BBRSDA is tasked with increasing the value of Bristol Bay sockeye and has contracted with McDowell Group, Inc. to produce bi-annual sockeye market reports. These reports provide Bristol Bay fishermen with a comprehensive understanding of current market conditions for sockeye, and contextualize these findings against the broader salmon market.
“It’s unfortunate that Pebble’s litigation tactics are causing more delay in the public process to protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine, especially when 99% of some 650,000 public comments submitted to EPA supported a final action,” said Katherine Carscallen, commercial fisherman and board member of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA).
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is predicting a very strong sockeye run in 2015, compared to 2014.
A total of 53.98 million sockeye salmon (range 44.83–63.13m) are expected to return to Bristol Bay in 2015. This prediction is 40% greater than the previous ten-year mean of total runs and 51% greater than the long-term mean of 32.43m, said ADF&G.
The initiative states that, in addition to permits and other authorizations required by law, a final authorization would be needed from the Legislature for any large-scale mining operation within the watershed of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve.
US pollock sellers and, to some extent, European buyers are anticipating higher prices for next A season, but the currency situation and cheap stocks of double frozen pollock are counting against a big hike.
Some of the fish, a source of deep pride for Alaskans, is harvested in Russian waters. Some is caught off the coast of Japan and Korea. But no matter its origin, federal regulations allow any walleye pollock distributed, sold, and consumed in the United States, whether in the form of fish sticks or a miso-glazed filet, to bear a label that calls Alaska home.
After six years on the job, Mike Mason will leave his post as news director at KDLG public radio this month. Mason, whose balanced reporting and distinct deep voice have been a daily fixture in Bristol Bay, has been hired as the press secretary for the Alaska House Minority. He and his partner Celeste Novak will move to Anchorage later this month.
A year ago, 81% of the Bristol Bay salmon drift permit holders who responded to a survey sent out by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) said they would like to learn more about a potential buyback of Bristol Bay drift permits. Such a buyback would reduce the number of drift gillnet permits allowed to participate in the Bristol Bay salmon fishery.