Bristol Bay commercial fishery going strong for 130+ years. By: Walt Gasson
Unless you’ve been on a different planet for the last decade, you probably know about TU’s “Save Bristol Bay” campaign. You know that Bristol Bay continues to produce the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery and one of the most prolific king salmon runs left on earth. You know that healthy salmon runs are the foundation of the Bristol Bay region’s economic, social, cultural and ecological well-being. You know that the fishery there supports over 14,000 jobs including commercial fishermen, processors, lodge owners, guides, tourism operators and more. You know this is a special place.
You also know about the ill-conceived Pebble Mine plan from Northern Dynasty Minerals that would endanger all these things. You know that they propose creating a gold and copper mine on a huge tract spanning multiple salmon rivers that drain into Bristol Bay. You know that they propose to build the world’s largest earthen dam, some 700 feet high and several miles in length – all in one of the most earthquake- prone areas in North America. You know that similar dams have failed, destroying the watersheds below them. You know this is a bad idea.
But do you know Matt Luck? You should. Matt is a TU Business member and a commercial salmon fisherman. He’s the founder and principal of Pride of Bristol Bay. In the spring of 1989, Matt was in Cordova, AK raising a young family and completely engaged in the community and the commercial fishing industry. Then came the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the resulting impacts were devastating and profound. It was a life-changing experience. So when he heard the rhetoric from the mining industry about sustainable resource concerns and the Pebble Mine, it sent shivers down his spine. He wanted to do something to help.So he created Pride of Bristol Bay, a company founded on the principle that sustainably harvested wild salmon from Bristol Bay could help people who might never come there to know what makes it so special, and to use part of the proceeds to fund conservation. Matt’s goal at Pride of Bristol Bay is to reach out to consumers, chefs and restaurants with traceable and sustainably harvested wild salmon, flash frozen and shipped to them. Matt sees Pride of Bristol Bay as an example of businesses that create continued financial support for TU and other organizations that advocate for the resource that is imbedded in the culture, community and economy of the Bristol Bay region.
So if you want genuine Bristol Bay salmon, and you want to support businesses that support TU’s “Save Bristol Bay” campaign, by all means go to Alaska and go fishing with one of them. But if you can’t make it this year, buy some salmon from Pride of Bristol Bay. Not only will you be eating the finest wild-caught and sustainably harvested salmon, you’ll be supporting a great business and a great campaign.
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