Bristol Bay: Why we still need to save it

Alaska’s Bristol Bay is a beautiful watershed of winding streams and rivers, wetlands with a little mix of tundra. forests of alder and spruce, and home to a variety of fish, birds and terrestrial animals.

This place is rightly referred to as “America’s Fish Basket” because it is one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world and home to the world’s largest salmon fishery.

As wild salmon populations decline globally, Bristol Bay's prolific wild salmon runs and the economies they support make it a place of international importance. For years, the region faced a massive threat from the proposed Pebble mine, as well as hard rock mining on adjacent state and federal land. Thankfully, this threat is at bay - for now.

In order to stay thriving, the region must have durable protections from Pebble and other large-scale mining projects.

All five species of Pacific salmon—sockeye, Chinook, coho, chum, and pink—spawn and thrive in the Bristol Bay watershed, supporting wildlife like brown bears, as well as human industry and culture. The bay supports the largest sockeye salmon run in the world, producing about 46% of the world’s wild sockeye harvest. The fishery is valued at more than $1.5 billion (USD) and provides nearly 20,000 jobs annually. Over 4,000 locals, including many native Yup’ik and Dena’ina, rely on fish, and other subsistence foods for 80% of their protein.

3 reasons Why it needs to be preserved, for good.

1) Bristol Bay continues to produce the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery and one of the most prolific king salmon runs left on earth. The reason for this is clear; the Bay’s freshwater salmon habitat is largely untouched by development. From the tiniest microorganism to the giant grizzly bear, life in Bristol Bay revolves around salmon.

2) Healthy salmon runs underpin the Bristol Bay region’s economic, social, cultural and ecological well-being. There are more than 30 Alaska Native Tribes in the region that depend on salmon to support their traditional subsistence ways of life. If the Pebble mine is developed, the subsistence culture of thousands of people who live in the Bristol Bay region will be threatened.

3) Bristol Bay's rivers attract anglers from all over the world who seek the “once in a lifetime” Alaska fishing experience. Have you fished there yet? No? Then lets spread the word.

This article is for informative purposes only. All assumptions made will remain assumptions.

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