Valuing the Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Fishery

The estimated value of the Pebble Mine’s mineral resources are definitely astounding. However, I thought it would also be interesting to see how profitable the salmon fishing industry has been in the Bristol Bay Area.

According to a 2010 study by the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage, the Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon fishery created an estimated $1.5 billion in sales and outputs that year. The study also emphasized the location and amount of jobs that the fishery creates throughout the Pacific Northwestern United States (See Charts below).

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Despite these impressive numbers, the economic output of the Bristol Bay Salmon Industry still fail incredibly short of the profits that could be generated by the Pebble Mine.

The Bristol Bay commercial Salmon Fishery is over 120 years old with native Alaskan subsistence fishing going back for generations beyond that. Profit margins, job creation, and economic development are often the key factors in many legislative disputes, however it would seem that in this case the biological and cultural may prove more important.



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