Alaskans Celebrate 7th Annual Wild Salmon Day

Image: Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Alaskans are celebrating the seventh annual Wild Salmon Day on Aug. 10 in Anchorage to honor shared connections to salmon and the importance of health salmon habitat.

Organizers said the free event at Anchorage’s Westchester Lagoon from 6-8 p.m. will feature live music, several vendors, activities for children and the Salmon Hookup food truck, selling menu items made with fresh Cook Inlet sockeye salmon.

Participation organizations include Trout Unlimited, SalmonState, the Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG), Citizens Climate Lobby and others. Speakers include Suzanne Little, who oversees Pew’s land conservation issues in Alaska. Her goal is to ensure that local people are heard on land use issues, including policy debates relating to conservation of Alaska lands.

The agenda includes time for commentary on Clean Water Act protections which the Environmental Protection Agency is considering enforcement of related to the proposed Pebble mine abutting the Bristol Bay watershed in Southwest Alaska, home of the world’s largest run of sockeye salmon.

Jonas Banta, the Anchorage community organizer for the Alaska Center, said there will be comment cards available for those attending to send to the EPA, to voice their opinion on the mine and proposed Clean Water Act protections.

Banta said it is important that the EPA hear from as many Alaskans as possible on this issue. The comment period runs through Sept. 6.

“Alaskans want to be done with this,” he commented. “We want the salmon protected.”

A similar free event is set for Aug. 14 at the Tanana Lakes Recreation Area in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The nonprofit Alaska Center advocates for a number of environmental issues with a potential or existing adverse impact on salmon habitat, from mining to dams and keeping streams clean.

Wild Salmon Day comes on the heels of Salmonfest, three days of fish and music on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, which attracted a sold-out crowd of several thousand people, a smoked salmon cookoff competition, and similar vendors and environmental entities opposed to development of the Pebble mine.