One of the things I’ve learned about conservation is that it’s important to see the world through another person’s eyes. Naturally, it’s easier if the two of you see the world in similar ways. In the past, sport anglers and commercial fishermen in Alaska haven’t always been on the same page. But our friends at Pride of Bristol Bay have a way of getting right to the important stuff. Here’s the important stuff, straight from this great TU Business member.
By Steve and Jenn Kurian
At Pride of Bristol Bay, our livelihood depends on salmon. It’s pretty simple, really. We catch sockeye salmon, process them and sell them. We know first-hand that our long-term success depends on sustainability. We can’t do business in an environment where we can’t count on those salmon being there every year. That means conservation must be part of our business plan.
As commercial fishermen, we know that our future depends on a sustainable harvest of salmon. We’ve been the beneficiary of the cooperative conservation efforts of state and federal agencies, conservation groups, and both sport and commercial fishing communities. In 2019 we saw the fourth largest salmon run on record in Bristol Bay at a total of 56.5 million fish. It was the fifth consecutive year of runs reaching or exceeding 50 million fish. We celebrate our shared success, not just because it supports our business but because these fish represent the cultural history of the Bristol Bay region and the keystone of our future together here. We need to do everything we can to make sure the salmon population is thriving for future generations while enjoying this amazing natural resource.
But there is one thing that looms far above any other facing Bristol Bay:—the proposed Pebble Mine. You’ve most likely heard about it. Nothing could be more damaging to this fragile Bristol Bay ecosystem than this mine. Not only will it destroy over 3,000 acres of wetlands and more than 21 miles of salmon streams at the mine site. Worse yet, it will include a massive tailings storage facility, treatment ponds, and associated dams in an active seismic area. The threat of toxic mine waste that could completely destroy our entire livelihood. It’s a fisherman’s worst nightmare.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with organizations such as such as Trout Unlimited in opposition to the proposed Pebble Mine. Through our Wildly Devoted program, we donate 1 percent of total sales to protect this natural resource, and when you purchase wild-caught salmon from Pride of Bristol Bay, you are also helping to protect Bristol Bay salmon. We think that’s something to feel good about.
Pride of Bristol Bay
Steve and Jenn Kurian
Bloomsburg, PA 17815