Commercial Fishermen Applaud EPA Decision to Initiate Clean Water Act Protections in Bristol Bay

EPA to Use Clean Water Act to Protect Bristol Bay

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EPA’s decision represents government acting as they should, working with the people and fishermen of Bristol Bay.

Bristol Bay, Alaska (PRWEB) March 03, 2014

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) applauds the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Friday decision to put the Clean Water Act into action to begin the process to protect Bristol Bay’s world class salmon fishery from the threat of a giant gold and copper mine in the fishery’s headwaters.

“EPA’s decision represents government acting as they should, working with the people and fishermen of Bristol Bay,” said BBRSDA Sustainability Director, Katherine Carscallen. “Our world renowned commercial fishery exists because of the efforts of fishermen to sustainably harvest this resource for over 130 years, and the actions of the local people in Bristol Bay who have cared for the habitat for thousands of years.”

EPA’s decision to put Section 404c of the Clean Water Act into action in Bristol Bay is the first step in a process that will ultimately determine how to best protect Bristol Bay and its $1.5 billion commercial fishing economy from large-scale mining development.

“Four years ago, the fishermen of Bristol Bay called on EPA to protect their jobs, and way of life,” said fisherman and BBRSDA Board member John Fairbanks. “Now we’ve received an initial, strong answer. Yes, Bristol Bay is worth protecting, and the cloud of uncertainty that has hung over our fishery for over a decade is starting to be lifted.”

“There is no doubt that Bristol Bay's salmon resource and its commercial fishing industry are a national treasure,” said Bob Waldrop, Executive Director of the BBRSDA. “EPA’s twice peer-reviewed scientific study confirms this; it is not possible to place one of the world's largest mines atop the world's most valuable wild salmon fishery without devastating consequences. We welcome the initiation of this process to allow additional public discussion on whether such a mine is appropriate in this region.”

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) represents the 1,850 commercial salmon driftnet fishermen who harvest the world’s greatest seafood – Bristol Bay sockeye salmon. Find them at bristolbaysockeye.org and http://www.bbrsda.com.

For more information, contact:

Bob Waldrop, Executive Director,
Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA)
907-223-1588
Bdrop(at)msn(dot)com

Katherine Carscallen
Sustainability Director, BBRSDA
907-843-2006
KatherineCarscallen(at)gmail(dot)com