TU has built a Pacific salmon program that spans the entire range of Pacific salmon and steelhead -- from Southern California steelhead to sockeye in Alaska's Bristol Bay and inland to the headwater spring chinook streams of central Idaho. We are protecting native-run kokanee in western Washington's Lake Sammamish; we are helping to reconnect steelhead, chinook and sockeye to central Oregon streams they haven't seen in decades; we are restoring passage on private timber lands for California coho; and, we are sustaining a conservation ethic by educating consumers about the conservation needs of healthy salmon fisheries. Employing aggressive and innovative strategies across all four Hs (Habitat, Hydropower, Hatcheries and Harvest) and throughout the salmon and steelhead's entire historic range, TU staff and its thousands of volunteers are working tirelessly toward a singular vision: Ensuring that by the next generation that robust populations of native and wild salmon and steelhead once again thrive within their Pacific range so that our children can enjoy healthy fisheries in their home waters.
The foundation upon which TU's WhyWild campaign is built is the idea that the people across the country who enjoy eating wild-caught Pacific salmon - as well as the businesses and industries that rely on wild-caught salmon - represent a massive community of advocates for the conditions required to allow wild Pacific salmon and steelhead to thrive. That means conservation. Our job is to educate, energize and mobilize those advocates and marshal the power of the marketplace to work for wild salmon and steelhead conservation. This summer we got a chance to put the WhyWild model to the test. Through a unique partnership TU helped broker, salmon consumers in the Portland, Oregon market got a rare chance to invest their salmon dollars in Bristol Bay, Alaska sockeye salmon, while at the same time to learn about the conservation challenges facing the area, and to lend their names in support of TU's effort to protect it.
Our Work in Bristol Bay, Alaska
Most consumers in the lower 48 never never get a chance to try Bristol Bay sockeye or invest in the fishery, as infrastructure limitations within the fishing fleet and on shore render most of the catch suitable only for canning. Most of the all-wild sockeye catch ends up being shipped to Europe and Asia for pennies a pound. This under-valuing of the fishery, lack of out-of-area investment and limitation on the markets makes areas like Bristol Bay ripe for exploitation, like the proposed Pebble Mine, which TU has been leading the effort to stop in order to protect this irreplaceable fishery. But through a unique partnership between New Seasons Markets in Portland, Naknek Family Fisheries of Bristol Bay and TU, we were able to bring a shipment of high-grade, all-wild, fresh Bristol Bay sockeye in for customers of all eight New Seasons locations to try and enjoy. In turn, we gained a forum to educate consumers about the Pebble Mine, and to collect signatures to help us stop it. Naknek and Bristol Bay gained out-of-area investment and a much higher price for their catch, and consumers got a rare opportunity to enjoy this amazing quality fish at a fair price. It's these linkages between fish and fishermen, the market and consumers, quality product and conservation awareness, and salmon dollars and resource value protection that embody the WhyWild campaign. In just a few hours on a Friday afternoon in Portland, Bristol Bay gained thousands of new advocates for its protection, its fishermen and fishing-dependent businesses gained immeasurable potential future investment, and Portland markets and consumers gained a new source of high-quality, wholesome, all-wild sockeye for their families to enjoy.
Join Us: Sign the Salmon Consumer's Bill of Rights
Individual consumers who care about wild Pacific salmon and steelhead recovery haven’t really had their own voice over the clamor of governments, special interests and NGOs dominating the salmon conservation landscape. Until now. TU is building the community of individual consumers committed to wild salmon and steelhead, and teaming them with the businesses and industries who share the same commitment. The goal is to harness the collective power of the marketplace and use it to leverage the kinds of conservation actions necessary to make real and lasting wild Pacific salmon and steelhead recovery a reality. By signing onto the Bill of Rights you are joining that community. Through this community, your voice demanding healthy wild salmon and steelhead populations can and will be heard.