by Shoren Brown
Fishing hound Paul Greenberg, author of “Four Fish,” sends the first New York Times dispatch from a summer getaway of fishing in Bristol Bay, with Chef Barton Seaver and others. The first species to get caught on his line is the unsung Arctic grayling.
Paul writes: “Arctic grayling demand incredibly clean, cold water. And it’s for this reason that they have not held their ground in the Lower 48. Once upon a time they could be found in great numbers in the northerly parts of the Western states, but municipal sewage, agricultural runoff and—perhaps above all—mining have so polluted American rivers that grayling can now be found in any numbers only in Canada and Alaska.”
He addresses the Pebble Mine’s threats to Bristol Bay’s 35 fish species, including grayling. “Grayling are the ultimate indicator species and demand incredibly clean water. It is hard to imagine a fish this pure surviving in the face of a mine this big.”
At the 11th hour, the Pebble Partnership asked the EPA to add Pebble’s science data to the agency’s materials that a peer review panel of scientists will consider when it provides comment on the watershed assessment.
Letter writer Charlie Charlesworth of Pennsylvania says Bristol Bay merits protection from Pebble mine. He writes: “The Environmental Protection Agency recently released a report that stated what those in the sport and commercial fishing communities already know: the Pebble Mine would cause serious harm to Bristol Bay's fish and wildlife. That's why I am joining sportsmen around the nation in calling on the EPA to use its authority to stop the Pebble Mine.”
And, a fisherman originally from California laments what has been lost with salmon in the lower 48 and why he migrated north to Alaska. Gerald Masolini says it’s hard to believe Pebble is even up for discussion. He writes: “And that is why I am so foaming-at-the-mouth against the proposed Pebble gold and copper mine in Western Alaska, right in the heart of the Bristol Bay fishery that produces up to 40 million red (sockeye) salmon every summer. Bristol Bay, like the goose that lays the golden eggs, is a magic gourmet grocery store that restocks its own shelves. All we have to do is take care of the store.”
Shoren Brown is the Save Bristol Bay campaign director for Trout Unlimited.