Bristol Bay in the News January 9, 2012

Bristol Bay in the News, January 9, 2012

Coverage of Bristol Bay and its valuable salmon fisheries did not slow down in the last week of 2011. A new national study found that Bristol Bay’s total economic benefits from commercial fishing could be as high as $5.4 billion annually. This value-added model of analysis includes the whole sale and retail value of fish, along the chain from catch to processing, to sales to retail establishments, such as restaurants and grocers.

“These estimates provide strong economic support for protecting Bristol Bay’s unique and valuable ecosystem,” researchers wrote. “The value of the economic activity we estimate in this report is only one component of the total economic value of Bristol Bay. It does not include other values that are more difficult (if not impossible) to monetize, including biodiversity and ecosystem services, recreation and scenic amenities and cultural and social significance.”

In a radio interview, EPA official Rick Parkin describes the agency’s timeline and work regarding its watershed assessment of Bristol Bay, a key tool to making decisions about future mining development in the region. Parkin said EPA expects to make a draft of the assessment public in April, reviewed by a peer review panel in June and finalized in August or September. He added that using the agency’s 404 (c) power doesn’t have to mean an all or nothing decision, and that permits can be granted with appropriate restrictions or conditions.

Lastly, the group SkyTruth superimposed Pebble’s mining and waste pond footprint on Washington, D.C., and showed that the nation’s capital would be almost completely covered by it.

Here’s a weekly roundup of news.

Economic value of Bristol Bay fisheries could be $4.1 – $5.4 billion

Margaret Bauman
The Cordova Times
A newly released report commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund concludes that the value of commercial fisheries that could be adversely affected by offshore oil and gas development in Bristol Bay ranks in billions of dollars. Researchers at Portland, Ore., based Ecotrust concluded that the fish harvested in Bristol Bay at the final point of retail sale averaged $2.2 -$2.9 billion annually from 2005-2008, supporting $4.1-$5.4 billion annually in total economic activity…Click here to read more

Alaska News Nightly: EPA Begins Assessment of Bristol Bay Watershed

Daysha Eaton
Alaska Public Radio
This year the Environmental Protection Agency started their Assessment of the Bristol Bay Watershed — something tribal entities concerned about the development of the proposed Pebble Mine had requested. KDLG's Daysha Eaton talks with Rick Parkin, who is managing the EPA Assessment to see how it's going and to find out what we can expect in 2012…Click here to listen

Pebble Mine Plan Superimposed on DC

Yolandita Franklin
The concerns of many fishing and sportsmen’s groups, environmentalists and local Alaskans have risen over the proposed Pebble open-pit copper/gold mine in southwest Alaska. Here I have superimposed an image of the mine footprint over Washington DC, using Google Earth Pro…Click here to read more

Snapshot of Alaska seafood industry in ‘11
Laine Welch
Anchorage Daily News
Alaska's seafood industry continued its mission to ramp up its message to policymakers, especially those from rail belt regions who tend to overlook its economic significance…Click here to read more

Pebble Partnership has a clear mission in Alaska: Make Money

Barbara C. Brown, Palmer AK
Anchorage Daily News
In "Nature Conservancy" 2011 Issue 4, stories are told about how this organization has restored habitat that was previously in trouble. This group is also known for protecting threatened animals. My question is do we want to have to restore the salmon habitat around Bristol Bay after the Pebble Partnership has wreaked havoc there or do we want to preserve it for future generations?...Click here to read more

Opinion: Petition to restore Alaska Coastal Management Plan

David Otness
The Cordova Times
Living at the pace we do in modern life (yes, even in quiet little Cordova), there is a lot that slips by on the radar when we get preoccupied with priorities inside our personal spheres. Perhaps the lapsing of the three decades extant Alaska Coastal Zone Management Plan in July of 2011 seems inconsequential to many because of its apparently-unfelt absence nearly six months later…Click here to read more