Since 1884, fish processors and biologists have kept intimate track of the number of salmon caught in Bristol Bay. On July 6, that figure passed 2 billion.
If those fish averaged a foot long, it’s enough fish to stretch from the earth to the moon and halfway back.
On Monday, Sharon Thompson of Naknek personally delivered a ceremonial salmon from Bristol Bay to Alaska Gov. Bill Walker in commemoration of the landmark.
The delivery was organized by Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, an organization that opposes construction of Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska, and was announced in an email from the organization.
According to the group’s email, the symbolic fish was caught by 86-year-old fisherman Howard Knutsen, captain of the F/V Sea Hunter II. The salmon was then hand-carried to Juneau.
“It’s truly an honor to deliver this fish and celebrate this moment with Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott,” Thompson said in a prepared statement. “The importance of salmon to our way of life cannot be overstated. As Alaskans we need to work together to ensure our state remains the last great wild salmon state.”