The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) applauds the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Friday decision to put the Clean Water Act into action to begin the process to protect Bristol Bay’s world class salmon fishery from the threat of a giant gold and copper mine in the fishery’s headwaters.
The Senate Resources Committee held a confirmation hearing on Friday for the man who represents the Bristol Bay region on the Alaska Board of Fisheries. KDLG’s Mike Mason listened in and filed this report.
The Bristol Bay Regional Development Assoc. said they (BBRSDA) applaud the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision on Friday to put the Clean Water Act into action to begin the process to protect Bristol Bay’s world class salmon fishery from the threat of a giant gold and copper mine in the fishery’s headwaters.
Here's my favorite thing about the Environmental Protection Agency enacting a rarely used section of the Clean Water Act to potentially shut down the behemoth Pebble Mine project proposed for the headwaters of Alaska's Bristol Bay: The agency is stepping up to call the bully's bluff.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking the first steps toward possibly restricting or even prohibiting development of a massive gold-and-copper prospect near the headwaters of a world-premier sockeye salmon fishery in southwest Alaska.
The decision follows release of an EPA report in January that found large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed posed significant risk to salmon and could adversely affect Alaska Natives in the region, whose culture is built around salmon.
EPA has spent three years studying the potential impacts on salmon of a large, open pit mine in the Bristol Bay region, where half of the world's sockeye salmon are produced. Its final study came out in January after two drafts, 1.1 million public comments and two reviews by an independent panel of experts.
About 30 opponents of the proposed Pebble Mine met in Washington today with White House and high-ranking EPA staff. They came armed with a new EPA study that found a mine of Pebble’s size would pose a significant risk to Bristol Bay and its valuable salmon fisheries. Now they’re asking the Environment agency to take the next step and kill the project. They didn’t get a definite answer.
The chief financial officers for the city of New York and the state of California are continuing to call for major mining company Rio Tinto to divest itself from Northern Dynasty. Both New York City and California hold substantial amounts of Rio Tinto stock, and as shareholders they're trying to promote responsible investments, which they say the Pebble Mine is not.
Salmon trollers will not be able to target Taku River salmon this May.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game announced the 2014 Taku River large king salmon forecast yesterday (Tue 2-18-14), and predicts a run of only 26,800 fish. That’s just about 3,000 fish shy of what is required to allow trollers to target the early run.
Dave Harris, ADF&G’s Juneau area management biologist for commercial fisheries says the forecast is better than last year, but still poor.
Next week NRDC will join leaders from an unprecedented coalition of Alaska Natives, commercial fishermen, sportsmen, business owners, and faith leaders converging in D.C. and calling on EPA to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska from large-scale mining like the proposed Pebble Mine.
In a recent ill-informed letter to Pebble mine proponent Northern Dynasty Minerals, a handful of members of the Alaska State Legislature, led by Senate Resources Chair Cathy Giessel, seemed to be out to prove how loyal they are to foreign mining interests and how little they care about Alaskans fighting for their way of life.
Currently, 800 square miles of mining claims, including Pebble, Big Chunk, Groundhog, and others are under exploration in headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak rivers. These rivers drain about half of Bristol Bay and produce about half of Bristol Bay salmon. Nine federally-recognized tribes, the Alaska Native regional corporation for Bristol Bay, and commercial and sport fishing interests petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use it's authority under the Clean Water Act to protect fisheries.
Most people don’t know that Alaska fishery managers operate 15 sonar sites on 13 rivers from Southeast to the Yukon – or that Alaska pioneered the use of sonars to track salmon. "We write these wonderful reports and we communicate with other scientists but if your user groups don’t know what you’re doing, really what good is it." Debby Burwen is a research biologist with Fish and Game’s sport fish division. For more than 40 years managers have used sonar as a tool to track salmon run strength in silty rivers where the salmon can’t be seen.
I, along with many others, have been working for years to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska, from large-scale mining. This spectacular, unspoiled landscape is home to the largest wild salmon fishery in the world. Every year tens of millions of salmon return to Bristol Bay to feed thriving commercial and sports fishing industries, as well as brown bears, whales, bald eagles and wolves. And they're the centerpiece of sustenance and culture for Alaska Natives who have lived there for thousands of years.
The Alaska Board of Fish failed to stand up to the recreational lobby, and ended their session on Cook Inlet salmon by taking two measures to penalized commerical sockeye fishing, while doing nothing about changing regulations on sport and dipnet fishing. Yet much of the problems for king salmon come from "in-river" pressure which has grown enormously over the past decade, as well as habitat degradration in higher population areas.
Fishery management decisions approved this past week in Anchorage hit hard at commercial harvesters as the state fisheries board sought to protect depleted numbers of late run Kenai River king salmon and provide more fish for anglers.
The State of Alaska is looking for someone to supply over 6,000 cases of pink salmon to be donated to disaster relief efforts in the Philippines. That adds up to nearly 150,000 15-ounce cans.
In an announcement this week, the State Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development, is soliciting bids for the purchase and shipment of the salmon to Cebu.
The state did not give an estimate of what the salmon and shipping might cost, but they did specify it must be Alaskan.