Bristol Bay stakeholders and commercial fishing leaders from Alaska and Washington who feel the proposed Pebble project in Southwest Alaska poses a threat to the multi-million-dollar wild salmon fishery have scheduled a panel discussion on the matter during Pacific Marine Expo. It will take place on Thursday, Nov. 21, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle, Wash.
The panel participants will include University of Washington aquatic ecologist Daniel Schindler, veteran Bristol Bay harvester Mike Friccero of Kodiak, Alaska, and Andy Wink, executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which represents the Bay’s drift gillnet fleet.
The event was announced by Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay and United Tribes of Bristol Bay, two of several groups who have voiced strong concern for what they contend is an effort to fast-track the project despite area and national opposition, and scientific evidence that it could destroy the fishery.
The Pebble Limited Partnership, based in Anchorage, Alaska, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the international mining corporation Hunter Dickinson, of Vancouver, British Columbia, which claims that the mine can be constructed and operated in harmony with the fishery.
A public statement released on Nov. 19 by Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd, the Hunter Dickenson subsidiary that oversees the Pebble Limited Partnership, said that the Pebble project, which it describes as one of the world’s most important copper-gold-molybdenum-silver resources, is currently advancing through the U.S. federal permitting process under the National Environmental Policy Act.
The US Army Corps of Engineers’ draft Environmental Impact Statement, which was released last spring, has been criticized by federal and state agencies as a flawed document, a rushed and politicized effort to aid a foreign mining company at the expense of the fishery.