Forward by Jenny Weis
Matt Luck approached us at Save Bristol Bay early last year and pitched the idea of his new business, Pride of Bristol Bay. He described that his goal was to deliver sustainable, delicious Bristol Bay salmon directly to consumers across the U.S. He also mentioned that he wanted to use a part of his proceeds to help in the fight against Pebble mine. We were instantly inspired by his enthusiasm, both for sustainable salmon and protecting Bristol Bay from Pebble, and automatically in support of sharing delicious wild Bristol Bay salmon with dinner tables and restaurants in Brooklyn, NY, Jackson Hole, WY and Boston, Mass and beyond. Matt's first season in business was a big success and we wanted to introduce him to all of you!
1. Company/position: Pride of Bristol Bay, Founder/Principal
2. Home City: Ketchum, Idaho
3. Tell us about your business.
Pride of Bristol Bay delivers the world's finest, sustainable sockeye salmon directly to its customers and donates a portion of its proceeds to Save Bristol Bay. Our goal at Pride of Bristol Bay is to reach out to the demographic of consumers, chefs and restaurants that demand a traceable product, harvested responsibly from a sustainable resource and provide them the very finest flash frozen wild salmon from the national treasure that is Bristol Bay.
4. Tell us a little bit about your background and connection to Bristol Bay.
I came to Alaska in 1976 from New England and married in Cordova 1983. For 40 years I have been a commercial fisherman throughout Alaska. I first came to Bristol Bay as a crewman on a drift gillnetter in 1979 and fish there today as the owner/operator of the drift gillnetter F/V Meg J. I have served on many Boards, Advocacy Groups, Panels and Committees related to resource management, advocacy and commercial fishing issues. Most recently I served as an industry member on the panel charged with recommending new escapement goals for Bristol Bay’s river systems to the Alaska Board of Fisheries. I am a current marketing committee member and former board member and marketing committee chair with the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.
5. Why did you decide to dedicate a portion of your proceeds to TU for the Save Bristol Bay effort?
I was living in Cordova, Ak in 1989, raising a young family with my wife and completely engaged in our community and the commercial fishing industry. The socio-economic impact of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound was devastating and profound. Listening to the disposition and dialogue of the Pebble Partnership and their multinational partners regarding sustainable resource concerns bears a haunting resemblance to the rhetoric I heard in 1989 and sends shivers down my spine. The wild sockeye salmon resource is the core asset of the Bristol Bay region. I would hope that our humble donation serves as example to create continued financial support from all stakeholders to those that advocate for the resource that is imbedded in the culture, community and economy of the Bristol Bay region.
6. What do you wish others knew about Bristol Bay?
The entire wild salmon regime in Bristol Bay is a shining example of what is achievable when responsible management is combined with collaboration and communication between all stakeholders. The world needs to know that these places of sheer, raw beauty, full to the brim with robust natural resources still exist and require our diligent support and stewardship.
7. What is the most rewarding part about helping the fight against Pebble?
Knowing that in some small way our effort may encourage others to acknowledge the need for their concern and support and continue to strengthen the collective message that needs to grow stronger every day .
8. When you think of the future of Bristol Bay, what gives you a sense of hope? What makes you concerned or worried?
The collaborative effort of so many individuals and groups advocating on behalf of Bristol Bay bodes well for the future, particularly the young watershed residents that have played such a key role in sharing this story and growing support throughout the U.S.
The concern as always centers around what might happen in the political landscape that could influence decisions based on personal agenda and profit rather than sound, responsible decision making.
9. Anything else you want Save Bristol Bay readers to know?
I hope everyone recognizes that this effort shows what we can begin to accomplish when we put aside our personal agendas as sport, commercial, personal use or subsistence fishers and work together to protect and enhance the resource that is central to all of our lives and communities.
Check out Matt's business, Pride of Bristol Bay today & reserve your share for 2016!
The fight to protect Bristol Bay is about more than a giant mine, or even salmon…its about people, and families and community. It’s about overcoming challenges, standing up for what is right, and believing that together we can achieve results that last far beyond our lifetime.
TU’s Save Bristol Bay Campaign is excited and honored to launch a series of articles that feature a few of the individuals who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to help build a renewable resource based legacy in Bristol Bay. For every person we highlight, we know there are 100s more, doing their part because they care about Bristol Bay. We hope their leadership and contributions inspire you as they do us, and that you will join us in thanking them for their efforts to help protect Bristol Bay.