Fishing for Profit, Fishing as People

In a 2005 letter to then-Governor of Alaska Frank Murkowski, the Alaska Independent Fishermen’s Marketing Association (AIFMA) made the following statement:

We urge you to immediately oppose the proposed Pebble Mine and all large-scale mine develop- ment in the Lake Clark, Iliamna-Kvichak, and Nushagak-Mulchatna drainages as an unacceptable threat to Alaska’s Wild Salmon habitat, populations and emerging global brand.

The AIFMA claimed that in their research they discovered that even trace amounts of certain minerals like copper can be deadly to juvenile salmon, that the Pebble Mine will dump some waste in the guise of “mixing zones”, that it is nearly impossible to prevent some amount of chemicals from leaking, and that even the presence of a large-scale mine would disrupt the Wild Alaska Salmon marketing plan.  According to a report by the Fishermen for Bristol Bay, the Bristol Bay salmon industry leads to the creation of $1.5 billion in output or sales value in the United States.  It also provides 10,000 permanent jobs and 12,000 seasonal jobs, many of them in the Bristol Bay region.  However, current Alaskan Governor Sean Parnell has supported the Pebble Mine and spoken out against the work by the EPA to stop the mine’s permitting.

But Bristol Bay’s Salmon industry is more than profits.  For many people in the region salmon fishing is their way of life (see below video).


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