Seafood Harvesters of America Oppose Pebble Mine Development

May 16, 2017 - Published in News Releases and Advocacy

The Seafood Harvesters of America are profoundly troubled by the reported settlement between EPA and Northern Dynasty Minerals that clears the way for the Canadian mining company to pursue the development of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

The Bristol Bay watershed in southwestern Alaska supports a $1.5 billion annual sustainable and renewable salmon fishery.  Consequently, the Seafood Harvesters believe that the existing 14,000 American jobs generated by Bristol Bay’s ecological resources should trump the short-term interests of a foreign mining company.

As commercial fishermen, we frequently work closely and productively with other industries in the marine environment. We have often found opportunities to coexist, while effectively conserving ocean resources for future generations.   However, developing a mine at the headwaters of the world’s most productive salmon fishery is not one of those places.

There is too much at risk should even a small fraction of a potential 10 billion tons of mining waste makes its way into the Alaskan ecosystem. A 2014 federal scientific study found that in the course of normal, safe operations, the Pebble Mine would destroy, block or otherwise alter up to 94 miles of salmon streams. A significant human or engineering failure would likely result in a decades-length catastrophic loss of salmon and degraded habitat for the other 29 fish species in the region.

As fishermen, we have a great respect for both the power of the ocean and the fragility of fish species. We strive to preserve and protect the ocean environment, while harvesting marine resources sustainably. We embrace accountability and transparency to ensure that we do no harm to the ocean upon which we rely, so that we can have productive fisheries for generations to come. We encourage the Trump Administration to stand beside the hard working fishermen and women who oppose the Pebble Mine to ensure that we can continue to bring to market healthy, domestic and delicious seafood.

 

Kevin Wheeler
Executive Director