FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2014

Contact: Katherine Carscallen, Sustainability Director, BBRSDA, (907) 843-2006

Bristol Bay, AK — Yesterday, President Obama took action authorized by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect Bristol Bay from all future oil and gas drilling.

Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) released the following statement regarding the measure:

“We applaud President Obama for acknowledging the immense resource we have in Bristol Bay and issuing permanent protections from oil and gas exploration and drilling in the North Aleutian Basin,” said Sue Aspelund, BBRSDA’s Executive Director. “As the President said, Bristol Bay is a ‘massive economic engine.’ It produces 40% of America’s wild seafood, including halibut, herring, groundfish, crab, and over half the wild sockeye salmon on earth. The industry responsible for delivering this sustainable salmon resource to plates across the world can now put behind it the uncertainty of the last 40 years’ threat of drilling.”

The President’s announcement serves as a significant acknowledgment of the value of Bristol Bay to the nation and the importance of habitat to this valuable industry.

“President Obama’s action protecting the offshore waters where our salmon grow and migrate is crucial, but it is only half the battle,” said Bristol Bay fisherman Katherine Carscallen. “We are encouraged by this action and what it can potentially mean for the safeguards we are seeking in Bristol Bay’s essential headwaters, which are currently threatened by large-scale mining proposals like the Pebble Deposit.”

The President is granted authority in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to issue this protection, which prevents consideration of the area for any oil or gas leasing for purposes of exploration, development, or production.

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) represents the 1,850 commercial salmon driftnet fishermen who harvest the world’s greatest seafood – Bristol Bay sockeye salmon. Find it at bristolbaysockeye.org and bbrsda.com.

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