The Alaska Independent Fishermen’s Marketing Association (AIFMA) applauds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its Watershed Assessment of impacts of potential large scale mining in the Bristol Bay drainages of Alaska. The Assessment is thorough, peer-reviewed, and comprehensive. It describes the risks of unavoidable, adverse, cumulative effects of potential large mines, including Pebble mine, on fish, wildlife, and subsistence, commercial and recreational fisheries in the region.

Alaska’s salmon catch set a record last year– and so did the salmon returns to Alaska hatcheries. The 2013 Alaska salmon catch was an all time high of 283 million fish and hatchery returns topped 110 million. The state’s annual Fisheries Enhancement report shows that those salmon contributed 36% to Alaska’s total salmon catch, valued at $182 million at the docks. That compares to 28% and $149 million in 2012.

The Response to Public Comments documents for the May 2012 and April 2013 Drafts of An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts On Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska are now available on the EPA website:

The State of Alaska and the Pebble Partnership say an Environmental Protection Agency review of the proposed project is unprecedented, and could be a harbinger for dangerous action by the federal government. The EPA has embarked on a one-year review of whether it should take action to protect the Bristol Bay fishery from the Pebble mine. After a request from the state and the Pebble Partnership, it announced it would give them a 45-day extension to make their case against regulation in the first part of the review, under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act.

EPA has extended the early consultation period with the State of Alaska and the Pebble Partnership from March 14 until April 29, 2014. This time period provides an opportunity for the landowner and mining company to meet with EPA to provide information relevant to the 404(c) process and to demonstrate to EPA that no unacceptable adverse effects to aquatic resources would result from mining the Pebble deposit or that actions could be taken to prevent unacceptable adverse effects to waters from such mining.

Robert Heyano, President of the Board of Directors of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, announced today that the board has accepted the resignation of its executive director, Bob Waldrop, who has served in that capacity since inception of the association. The board wishes Bob well in his next endeavors.

House Republicans are calling for an investigation into whether the Environmental Protection Agency planned to kill a controversial Alaska copper-and-gold mine from its inception, according to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner.

The EPA last month moved toward issuing a preemptive veto of a key mining permit for the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The agency said the mine would destroy salmon runs that are home to nearly half the world's sockeye salmon, and would disrupt the lives of native tribes.

A federal agency is providing more time for the state and the group behind the proposed Pebble Mine to provide information showing development at the site would not result in "unacceptable" environmental impacts.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has initiated a process that could lead to it prohibiting or restricting development of a massive gold-and-copper prospect in the Bristol Bay region.

A new report shows that Bristol Bay produced 31-percent of the world’s commercially caught sockeye salmon last year. That’s down significantly from previous years. The new “Sockeye Market Analysis” report was prepared by the McDowell Group for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has started a process that could block the world’s largest open-pit copper mine ever proposed and protect the Pacific Ocean’s most productive source of wild salmon.

A rarely used section of the Clean Water Act allows the EPA to prohibit or restrict activities that deposit fill material into wetlands or waterways, if such activities harm fisheries. The agency has more than sufficient cause to intervene in a proposed mining operation in southwest Alaska.