Hey, here’s some Bristol Bay news that isn’t centered around the Pebble Mine controversy (but if you, like, here’s this to peruse).
From the Alaska Dispatch:
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game last weekforecast a Bristol Bay run of 54 million sockeye. That’s up by more than 50 percent over the long-term average of 32 million, biologists said.
“Bring them on!” one man posted on a Bristol Bay commercial fishing Facebook page.
A group that represents the Bristol Bay driftnet fleet,Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, linked to the forecast on its website.
“Spoiler alert: It’s big,” the association said.
If the forecast is borne out, next year’s return of one of Alaska’s most lucrative fisheries will be the biggest since 1995. Bristol Bay’s red salmon runs are the biggest in the world. Protecting them has been a central theme in the fight against the Pebble prospect, the massive gold and copper mine proposed for the region.
The exciting prospect of a huge fishing season is tempered by the reality that it hasn’t happened yet.
“They are paper fish until they show up,” said Robert Heyano of Dillingham, who has fished Bristol Bay since he was a boy at Ekuk Beach, helping work his family’s anchored-down setnets along shore. Since 1972, he’s fished with driftnets from his boat and now is president of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which represents more than 1,800 fishermen who driftnet in Bristol Bay. About half live in Alaska.