What's keeping us so busy? Fighting to protect our wild sockeye salmon
Spring distribution is right around the corner. While I’m looking forward to connecting with all the Alaska Select Clubs across the country--I’m feeling the crunch of several coinciding, time-sensitive passion projects. One project in particular has become especially time consuming due its urgent nature.
I’ve been working on a documentary with a crew over the last three years. The overarching theme of the documentary is what you’ve seen lots of here on the website--the disconnect between the seafood industry and the consumer. You know, "when you don't know the source of your food, and seafood in particular, there are consequences…”
...Like the Pebble Mine. And although the proposed Pebble Mine was originally a part of our documentary, it was never intended to be a dominant theme. The Pebble Mine was pretty much put to bed when we started this project in early 2016. However, I kept the interviews that we did about the Pebble Mine in my back pocket, just in case there would be a time that the proposal was back on the table.
Unfortunately, that time is now.
For those of you not familiar with the proposed Pebble Mine, if built to its full potential would be the biggest open pit mine in North America, putting the last best ecosystem in the world for wild sockeye salmon at risk. Last year was Bristol Bay’s biggest return of sockeye ever recorded (since the late 1800s).
That’s right--this is a good example of how we got it right. It makes me sad that a mine of this scale is even being considered in this pristine and fragile environment. The current federal and Alaskan administrations are hellbent on trying to push this poorly planned, costly, foreign owned mine through, despite overwhelming pushback.
The Army Corps of Engineers came out with their draft Environmental Impact Statement in late February and the 90 day public comment period ends May 30th.
So, we’ve been called to action. And our action is passing it along in the best way we know how. We are creating three short “Call to Action” videos to engage people on social media platforms.
The call to action directives include:
- To encourage folks to comment on the Army Corps of Engineers' EIS.
- To encourage Alaskans to contact Senator Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and urge them to stop the permitting process.
- To direct people to the Save Bristol Bay website where there are online letters/forms for both of those actions. http://www.savebristolbay.org
I have been travelling all over the country gathering interviews with:
- Norm Van Vactor (of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation)
- Ray Hilborn (of the University of Washington’s Alaska Salmon Program)
- Chris Boatright (of UW and FRI)
- John Lowrance, Founder of Leader Creek Fisheries
- Tom Douglas (a celebrity Seattle chef)
- Si Kahn (of Musicians United/ author/ activist)
- Elizabeth Herendeen (of Salmon State)
- Cameron Wobus (a geologist working on Pebble Mine analysis)
- Molly Welker (a geologist specializing in hydrology, former Pebble Mine employee, and strong advocate against it)
- Various fishermen and
- Other stakeholders.
So... My Alaska Select crew and I are preparing for your spring orders and distribution.
My Anasazi (fishing vessel) crew and I are preparing for the fishing season up in Bristol Bay.
And my SOURCE film crew and I are taking off for New York and DC this week in pursuit of more interviews.
I am also reaching out to businesses in the Bristol Bay industry, seeking funding to see this project through.
The first of the CTAs is scheduled to be completed by next week.
Stay tuned and we will post our progress here on the site. We will call you to action, catch your fish, and fill your freezers soon!
Thanks for reading,