Washington, DC – This week, business leaders are in Washington DC to deliver a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with more than 450 companies signing in support of the Proposed Determination of Section 404(c) of the EPA Clean Water for Bristol Bay. wild salmon fishery, the largest in the world. The Businesses for Bristol Bay coalition, the Conservation Alliance and the American Sustainable Business Network submitted the letter to the EPA during its recent public comment period for a new set of protections for Bristol Bay, Alaska from the proposed Pebble mine.
EPA’s recent public comment period is the seventh that EPA has conducted regarding the protection of the Pebble Mine’s Bristol Bay salmon fishery. During this summer’s comment period, the EPA heard from more than 500,000 Americans urging them to end the proposed protections.
Business signatories included members of the retail and foodservice industries, including Whole Foods Market and Publix, as well as the outdoor recreation and sport fishing industries, including YETI, Patagonia, MeatEater and Grundéns.
This summer, Bristol Bay saw a record return of more than 78 million sockeye salmon, surpassing last summer’s record run of 67 million sockeye salmon. With many wild salmon populations around the world in decline due to habitat loss and climate change, the Bristol Bay salmon fishery supplies more than half of the world’s wild sockeye salmon and is the world’s largest wild salmon fishery. largest and most valuable in Alaska. In recent years, the Bristol Bay salmon fishery supports more than 15,000 American jobs and generates $2.2 billion in annual economic activity.
In the letter delivered to the EPA on September 5, more than 450 businesses called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to “act quickly to end the Clean Water Act 404(c) protections that are long-lasting and ensure Bristol’s long-term sustainability The wild salmon of the bay run.”
“Bristol Bay is a shining example of what a renewable and sustainable economy can look like. But it can only exist if we protect the clean water and habitat that Bristol Bay salmon need to thrive. That’s why more than 450 companies across the country are petitioning the EPA to end the protections of the Bristol Bay Clean Water Act and block the development of Pebble Mine. It is time for the Biden Administration to finish the work that the EPA began in 2014 so that the tribes, fishermen and businesses of Bristol Bay can have certainty and stability in the future.” said David Levine, president of the American Sustainable Business Network.
“Fly fishing and the broader outdoor recreation industries have been in the ring for a long time in this fight, but it’s not over. We will remain committed until Bristol Bay is protected. This region represents bucket-list outdoor experiences for recreationists around the world and provides economic benefits for businesses from Bristol Bay to every corner of the country. EPA can and should end the lasting protections of the Bristol Bay Clean Water Act, and hundreds of American businesses are urging the agency to do so this year.” said Jim Bartschi, CEO of Scott Fly Rod Co. and chairman of the board of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association.
“Bristol Bay is a top priority for the Conservation Alliance. Our 270 business members have provided funding to groups on the ground and advocated for protections in this area for more than a decade. We are honored to join forces with the 450 companies across the country calling on the EPA to protect the 15,000 jobs and billions in annual economic benefits that come from Bristol Bay fishing. Now is the time for the Biden Administration to listen to business leaders and stand with our Alaska Native partners in Bristol Bay as we work to stop the Pebble mine.” said Shoren Brown, Acting Executive Director of the Conservation Alliance.
In addition to the national business letter, dozens of chefs submitted a letter to the EPA echoing support for the long-term protection of Bristol Bay under the Clean Water Act. In their letter, they stated: “As culinary leaders in the sustainable seafood movement, we believe the EPA should safeguard Bristol Bay in perpetuity.”
“As the most prolific source of sockeye salmon on the planet, Alaska’s Bristol Bay waterways provide an irreplaceable wild resource for the American table. I want to see these fisheries receive the highest level of protection.” said Rick Moonen, author and Master Development Chef of Perry’s restaurants in Las Vegas.
“Long before anyone thought of exploiting the headwaters of Bristol Bay, this renewable resource supported Alaska Native communities. Just as it does to this day. Protecting the fishery, the people it supports and the quality seafood it supplies is a top priority for me and the culinary community.” said Michael Cimarusti, owner and chef of Providence and Connie and Ted’s in Los Angeles.