by Shoren Brown
Following the end of the Bristol Bay commercial salmon season, fishermen are raising their voices to protect their jobs, industry and Bristol Bay’s epic American fishery.
Commercial fisherman John Fairbanks underscores the many jobs and dollars that flow to Washington state from Bristol Bay’s fisheries in an op-ed in The Bellingham Herald. A board member of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, Fairbanks concludes: “Here in the Northwest we have learned the hard way on how quickly we can lose a resource and the benefits it provides. We are currently spending billions of dollars trying to recover a fraction of what's been lost. It's time to draw the line in our last great American salmon factory - Bristol Bay.”
Oregon commercial fisherman John Copp’s blog post in Blue Oregon notes there are 500 Oregon commercial fishermen, pilots, operators, and sportfishing guides that work in Bristol Bay in a piece titled “Godzilla stalks the Tundra.” Copp writes: “There is no rational choice but to save Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine. There is no higher wisdom than to grant permanent refuge to Bristol Bay, its pristine waters, its wild salmon, whales, seabirds, caribou, Brown bears, wolves, and all the rest of its unique and diverse faunal assemblage. And yes, to the thousands of commercial fishermen like me who risk life and limb to bring the world crab, herring, and salmon.”
Lastly, Sen. Mark Begich plans to introduce legislation to spend $50 million per year to market American seafood, helping to promote the industry and create jobs.
Shoren Brown is the Save Bristol Bay campaign director for Trout Unlimited.