Bristol Bay Tribal Organizations On Long-Term Protections For Fisheries (Updated)

The following press release is courtesy of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Bristol Bay Native Association and Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation:

DILLINGHAM, AK- Today, a coalition of Bristol Bay organizations released the “Call to Protect Bristol Bay,” a roadmap that outlines the true protections that provide long-term certainty for those dependent on the region’s robust natural resources.

“There is an urgent threat to Bristol Bay that must be met with urgent action,” said BBNA President/CEO Ralph Andersen. “Although we are relieved that Pebble’s permit application has been denied, our people must be assured that no matter the political winds, our way of life is protected from the threat of mining in our region. This commitment ensures that those who depend on Bristol Bay can continue building a sustainable future free from this threat.”
“True protections for Bristol Bay must stop the immediate threat of mining, ensure that no future proposal will hurtle through the federal permitting process unchecked, and provide a lasting guarantee to future generations that our lands and waters will not become a mining district,” said UTBB Board President Robert Heyano. “Any protections that do not meet this standard are unacceptable.”

“We must act to ensure that the current threat to Bristol Bay – the proposed Pebble Mine – does not come to fruition. And we must provide certainty to those who depend on our region’s resources that their future will not be threatened by any such proposal in the future. The establishment of a National Fisheries Area in Bristol Bay would provide stability for the Tribal communities of the region as well as the commercial fishing industry that relies on these waters.

This should be a common sense piece of legislation that should have the support of anyone who claims to represent Alaskans in Washington,” said BBEDC Chairman Robin Samuelsen.
Bristol Bay Native Association, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. and United Tribes of Bristol Bay are asking elected officials, civic leaders and the public to support the call and work toward permanent protections for Bristol Bay. The “Call to Protect Bristol Bay” is available online at

Bristol Bay Native Association represents 31 Bristol Bay tribes & is the regional nonprofit tribal consortium providing social, economic, and educational opportunities to tribal members.
Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation represents 17 CDQ communities & exists to promote economic growth and opportunities for Bristol Bay residents through sustainable use of the Bering Sea fisheries.
United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay.

Update: Here’s a statement from SalmonState:

ANCHORAGE, AK—SalmonState stands with the people of Bristol Bay as, today, they call for lasting protections for their region, home to the world’s most significant sockeye salmon resource.

“President-elect Biden has made clear that he understands Bristol Bay is too special and fragile a place to open up to large-scale, open-pit hard rock mining and the toxic waste that comes with it. Today it’s our hope that he hears the people of Bristol Bay and follows their lead as to the best way to protect their home and defend this national treasure,” said SalmonState Executive Director Tim Bristol. “While it’s great that the Army Corps has denied a permit to the proposed Pebble Mine, Bristol Bay is far from safe. It’s imperative that one of President-elect Biden’s first acts be to restore Clean Water Act protections proposed by the Obama administration, which the Trump administration did away with after a closed-door meeting with Pebble’s CEO. A Clean Water Act 404c veto is the strongest step the President-elect’s administration can take. It’s also a step supported by Tribes, fishermen, more than a million Americans, and a three-year, twice peer-reviewed study.

“The vital next step is codifying Bristol Bay protections permanently via legislation. People across the political spectrum have called for this incredible region to remain intact. We urge President-elect Biden and Congress to act swiftly and decisively to enact lasting protections for this one-of-a-kind American treasure, which is home to a vibrant Native culture, provides thousands of American jobs, and produces more wild salmon than anywhere else in the world.”