Three Documentary Shorts Capture Essence of Bristol Bay Salmon Fishery

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Filmmaker Elijah Lawson releases three films about life in Bristol Bay on the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association website.

"These videos capture the essence of what Bristol Bay fishermen have been fighting so hard to protect."

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Today, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) announced the release of a series of short documentaries on their website and on YouTube, capturing the vast beauty of Alaska’s Bristol Bay, the timeless values of the 1,800 small business owners who make their livelihood there, and the sustainable resource they harvest in the world’s largest wild sockeye fishery.

Filmmaker and life-long Bristol Bay fisherman, Elijah Lawson, teamed up with Randall Peck to create The Process, Community, and The Mershons, three portraits of hard working Bristol Bay fishermen and their families. Huge tides, high winds and shallow channels make Bristol Bay a challenging environment for the small-boat fleet that operates there; and extreme responsibilities come with owning and running a fishing business. Alaska’s fishermen don’t just pull in nets; they’re also mechanics, accountants, cooks, managers, and advocates for a way of life – quickly adapting to as many roles as there are hours in the day.

Bristol Bay is located in the Bering Sea region of Southwest Alaska, north of the Alaska Peninsula. There, the seafood industry supports 12,000 jobs and generates over $1.5 billion in total economic activity. Last month, the EPA released its final Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, which cautions that large-scale mining could have devastating effects on the salmon fishery and pose serious risks for Alaska Natives, whose culture is built around salmon.

“These videos capture the essence of what Bristol Bay fishermen have been fighting so hard to protect,” said BBRSDA Executive Director, Bob Waldrop. “Our concerns were heard and the BBRSDA is grateful for the rigorous scientific approach of this assessment. Moving forward, we will continue our steadfast work to protect our fishery, industry and livelihoods.”


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 and

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Bob Waldrop
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