Alaska Independent Fishermen’s
April 20, 2007
Anchorage Daily News
Letter to the Editor
P.O. Box 149001
Anchorage, AK 99514
State Lawmakers Should Act on Pro-Salmon Bills
Alaska’s greatest salmon fishery is facing a threat to its survival. The prospect of an industrial mining district in the Bristol Bay region anchored by the massive Pebble mine has struck fear in the hearts of Alaska’s commercial, Native, and recreational fishermen who are united in opposition to it.
AIFMA is the largest fishermen’s association in Bristol Bay. Many of our members live and work in the region, and I’ve had the good fortune to fish along side them for more than 30 years.
AIFMA supports pro-salmon bills pending in the state legislature, HB 134 introduced by Rep. Edgmon, and SB 67, the Jay Hammond Game Refuge bill, introduced by Senator Stevens. Both have bipartisan support and recognize the irreplaceable value of this extraordinary fishery. Although details differ, both would install reasonable measures to safeguard clean water and salmon habitat from industrial mining, while allowing fishing, municipal growth, and other economic development to continue.
Unfortunately, lawmakers have barely lifted a finger to move these bills holding just one hearing in the House Fisheries Committee on the fate of the Bristol Bay salmon fishery. These bills deserve immediate attention. Stalling in Juneau, while Northern Dynasty seeks permits, won’t sit well with any commercial fishermen I know. Lawmakers should stand up for Alaska’s wild salmon and the fishing industry that defines the region. I hope they will.