Poll Shows Bristol Bay Fishermen Don’t Want Mine

Results of the first poll of commercial fishermen in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region on the subject show that 85 percent of them are opposed to development of the Pebble Mine.

And 96 percent of the fish harvesters responding told pollsters from Craciun Research in Anchorage that the headwaters of Bristol Bay should be protected for future generations. The poll, commissioned by the Alaska Conservation Foundation, surveyed 350 harvesters – more than 10 percent of commercial fishing permit holders who live in Alaska and outside of the state, and has a margin of error of 5.2 percent.

“Alaskan fishermen simply do not want Pebble Mine,” said Bob Waldrop, director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. “The Pebble project would threaten thousands of good-paying jobs, which are essential to the regional and state economy.“ The poll also found that 77 percent of respondents do not believe the mine and fishing can safely co-exist.

The partnership of Anglo American and Northern Dynasty would construct the massive open pit and underground mines at the headwaters to Bristol Bay, whose fishery supplies roughly half of the world’s annual sockeye salmon harvest.

To protect the salmon, sportsmen, Alaska tribes and commercial fishermen petitioned the US environmental Protection Agency to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to restrict or prohibit disposal of mine wastes in Bristol Bay. The EPA is currently conducting a watershed assessment to evaluate the suitability of large-scale mining at the headwaters of Bristol Bay.