With the oil spill disaster in the Gulf ongoing, one of the few remaining U.S. fisheries will be wiped away for decades, poisoned by the residue of petrochemical contaminants that will remain in the rocks, shellfish, bottom feeders and their predators for generations! My 12-years of work to protect Southwest Alaska and the salmon fishery of Bristol Bay are all the more pertinent now. Here is the latest...
Photograph © 2010 Robert Glenn Ketchum
The coalition of groups working together to protect the salmon fishery of Bristol Bay and to stop the Pebble mine continues to grow. Earlier this year, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) declared Bristol Bay one of their Biogem Campaign targets and brought their large national membership into the debate.
To better inform their Los Angeles membership, NRDC is hosting a special night at the Laemmle theater complex in Santa Monica, Tuesday, May 18, at 7 p.m. Bobby Andrew, a Native Alaskan tribal spokesperson will discuss the historic use of the bay and Southwest by Native cultures and the current opposition among the villages to the development of the Pebble mine. Then I will do a keynote slideshow / lecture that will reveal Southwest to most of the viewers for the first time and take them through the habitat from the summits of the ranges to the spawning beds at the bottoms of the streams and rivers. There will be several specific images of the actual mine site, and a comprehensive view of all the national parks, state parks and national wildlife refuges. Bobby Kennedy, Jr. will close the evening offering commentary as to why we need to be engaged in this distant but important struggle to keep industrial development out of these wild lands.
I have worked with NRDC since the early '80's and am very excited to have the power of their membership onboard. We, as a people, are weighing the value of an established renewable resource industry (the fishery), against the impact of an extraction industry (the Pebble mine). As this is the last great fishery on the planet, I hope we will have the foresight to understand the complete system that is already in-place and operating so well. As a whole, we have done very badly protecting our other coastal fishery resources (witness the current oil spill in the Gulf coast fisheries that will impact it for the rest of our lifetimes). Southwest/Bristol Bay is a chance to proceed in a more enlightened way for the long-term good of the fish and the other species they sustain... including us! Trading this clean food resource for an eventual taxpayer subsidized Superfund toxic clean-up site just to further the wealth accumulation of international gold speculators would be a travesty.