Great Alaskan fishery faces crippling threat



Scott Willoughby: Denver Post:

For those unfamiliar with and its tour featuring the locally produced film "Red Gold," its mission is to educate folks on the threat of the gargantuan Pebble Mine proposed to be built at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the world's greatest salmon fishery.

The rivers of Bristol Bay make up the world's largest commercial sockeye salmon fishery and arguably its top sport fishery, accounting for a $360 million annual economy. People, like me, travel from afar to take part in the annual upstream migration, whether for work or wild adventure.

After recently discovering the world's second-largest copper and gold resource at the river headwaters, a multinational mining corporation known as Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) has applied for permits to develop one of the largest mines on the planet, an open-pit mine estimated at 55 square miles and producing several billion tons of toxic waste requiring treatment and storage in perpetuity.

Needless to say, the Pebble Mine proposal isn't sitting well with the massive fishing industry, given the potential for seepage into ground and surface water in the seismically active area surrounding the vital and pristine Kvichak and Nushagak rivers. That's just the sort of thing that devastates fisheries, and leads to my stories.

Read the entire story here.