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.
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.
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.
The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) will sponsor a panel discussion regarding a Bristol Bay permit buyback in the salmon drift gillnet fishery at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle.
Panel members will include representatives from National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska’s Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the author of this report, Northern Economics.
Norton Sound Seafood Products paid out more than $4 million to 212 fishermen so far for the 2014 fishing season. This new payout is double the rate seven years ago when $2 million was paid to 120 fishermen.
Friday marked the release of $7.5 million in federal disaster assistance for commercial fishermen affected by the 2012 failure of the Chinook salmon in the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers and Cook Inlet. Both US Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich welcomed the news and spoke in support of the decision.
The state of Alaska is spending millions of dollars working on what could be called a mystery — why king salmon runs continue to decline.
The Chinook Salmon Research Initiative has many parts with the same goal, to better understand what is happening to king salmon so the resource can be better managed through both good times and bad.