BBRSDA Press Release Regarding Pebble Mine Draft EIS - 2/21/19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 21, 2019

Contact:

Andy Wink, Executive Director
Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association
907-677-2371

Sitka, AK - In response to the Army Corps of Engineers’ release yesterday of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) required for federal permitting of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, Andy Wink, the Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association released the following statement:

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA), which is financially supported by over 1,800 regional commercial fishing businesses and strongly opposes large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed, is outraged at the irresponsible and negligent conduct unfolding in the proposed Pebble Mine permitting process. A 90-day comment period is far too short of a time period to review and comment on the recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

 The speed at which insufficient materials are being pushed through this mine’s permitting process is irresponsible given that the Bristol Bay salmon ecosystem is a biological wonder of the world. This region contains the world’s largest wild salmon runs, which have supported a rich culture for millennia and sustained a thriving commercial fishery for more than 130 years. The Bristol Bay region accounted for approximately half of the entire U.S. commercial salmon harvest value last year (producing a preliminary salmon harvest of 233 million pounds worth $281 million to commercial fishermen).

 Bristol Bay is home to the most valuable wild salmon fishery in the world and is the crown jewel of Alaska’s salmon industry. Despite the presence of this global treasure, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) scoping reports were severely lacking and do not address many important concerns raised during the public comment period. Specifically, the USACE scoping report did not recognize the virtual certainty of acid mine drainage or how contaminants would be hard to contain given the region’s porous hydrology, in addition to many other shortcomings.

 Astonishingly, the draft scoping report was released in May 2018 and is nearly identical to the final scoping report released just a few months later in August 2018. Now, the USACE plans to open a 90-day public comment period to review a massive Draft EIS document.

The lack of adequate time for public comment and the unresponsiveness of USACE’s final scoping report to address public comments is neglectful to the people who rely on salmon for survival and livelihood. The Pebble Limited Partnership claims the project will create 850 jobs during mine production, but these temporary, new jobs come at the risk of far more existing jobs that rely on sustainable salmon runs. The Bristol Bay commercial fishery directly employs 14,800 men and women in Alaska, and the fishery creates an additional 8,600 downstream and secondary U.S. jobs (Economic Benefits of the Bristol Bay Salmon Industry, July 2018 – link). In fact, this fishery directly employs over three times as many workers as Alaska’s entire metal and mineral mining sectors. In addition, there are thousands more who rely on Bristol Bay salmon for subsistence purposes or sportfishing-related jobs. All these stakeholders deserve a reasonable amount of time to understand the Draft EIS and submit a public comment about a mining development which could drastically alter the fate of their lives. Anything less is simply negligence on the part of government.

Furthermore, even if large-scale mining and salmon can somehow coexist for eternity in Bristol Bay, there will likely be irreparable damage to the consumer perception of Bristol Bay salmon. The BBRSDA has invested over $1 million in marketing Bristol Bay salmon, with promotions in over 1,000 U.S. stores last year. Pristine habitat is a key selling point for Alaska salmon, and therefore a large, open-pit mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay has the very real potential to damage the value of fishery resources regardless of the mine’s impacts on salmon habitats. A negative perception of the mine would likely affect Alaska salmon fisheries in other regions too, similar to how the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill negatively impacted markets for fisheries in regions unaffected by the disaster.

 Our membership is also concerned that the USACE is not adequately considering the findings of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Watershed Assessment which found that a mine of this size would pose an unacceptable risk having the world’s largest open pit mine using untested technology at the headwaters of the world’s largest wild salmon run.  

The BBRSDA joins other local groups in calling for a longer comment period for the Draft EIS, but fears this process is not thorough or objective and will end in a predetermined outcome.

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About the BBRSDA: The mission of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) is to increase the value of Bristol Bay seafood products for the benefit of fishermen. The organization funds activities that promote fishery products, elevate fish quality at the point of harvest, and support resource sustainability.

Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Brand Makes Big Splash in 2018

Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Brand Makes Big Splash in 2018

Sitka, Alaska. January 28, 2019 - The Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon run not only set a record in 2018, but the brand also made a big splash at retailers across the country. The branding program was developed by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association in 2016 in Boulder, Colorado before being launched nationwide in 2017. The brand continues to grow as more and more retailers across the country tell their customers the story of where their fish comes from, promoting in over 1,000 stores in 2018.

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Call for Board Seat Nominations Open

Please be advised that nominations are currently open for expiring BBRSDA Board seats. The following three board seats are expiring in June 2019:

  • Seat A - Alaska Resident

  • Seat D - Non-Alaska Resident

  • Seat G - Open Residency

All S03T permit holders are eligible for board seats. Board terms run for three years. Board members typically participate in 5-6 physical board meetings per year, as well as and several telephonic board meetings. Board members also sit on 2-3 committees which review proposals and craft direction for specific programs. Board travel is reimbursed and Board members receive a modest stipend for meetings lasting over 4 hours in length.

Nomination Materials:  The following materials must be submitted by mail (postmarked by Monday, February 4, 2019) and, if possible, also by email (to info@bbrsda.com) as a Word document with “BBRSDA Nomination” in the subject line.  Faxed nomination materials will not be accepted. The following nomination materials are required:

1.      Candidate statement – Identify the seat being sought and provide a 250 word-maximum campaign statement.

2.      Contact information – Candidate name, address, phone, email address, and vessel name.

3.      Candidate photo – Not required in mailed packet if sent by email.  If sent by email, the image must be attached as a JPEG or PNG file.  PDF images are not acceptable.

4.      Petition of support – Signed by at least ten (10) S03T permit holders, including their S03T permit numbers.  Signatures collected by fax and included in mailed or emailed nomination packets are acceptable.

Nominees, candidate statements, photos, and contact information will appear on mailed ballots and on the BBRSDA website.  Incomplete nominations cannot be accepted.  If a seat receives no nominations, the board will nominate at least one qualified permit holder for that seat.

A complete set of nomination materials (less the photo if it was emailed) must be mailed and postmarked by Monday, February 4, 2019 to:

BBRSDA
P.O. Box 6386
Sitka, AK 99835

Please also email the campaign materials (statement, photo, and contact information) to info@bbrsda.com.

A short questionnaire will be emailed to each candidate in mid-February to be completed and returned to the BBRSDA within ten (10) days of receipt.  That questionnaire is intended to supplement candidate statements and provide candidates an opportunity to express their thoughts on issues of interest to BBRSDA members.  Responses will be posted on the BBRSDA website and included in the ballot mailing.

In mid-March 2019, the BBRSDA will mail ballots, candidate statements, and questionnaire responses to each eligible S03T permit holder to the address listed on his/her permit. The information above was also mailed out two weeks ago to permit holders.

Fall 2018 BBRSDA Newsletter

Our Fall 2018 newsletter was distributed at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle. It was a monster year and BBRSDA has been very busy trying to maximize the value of all that salmon! You can view the newsletter by clicking on the link below. If you did attend our Member Meeting or the Fishermen’s Reception… thank you! And a big thanks goes out to our reception sponsors for helping us host a wonderful event that brought together many Bristol Bay fishermen.

Fall 2018 BBRSDA Newsletter

Fall Member Meeting Presentations

BBRSDA held a meeting for our members (i.e. Bristol Bay fishermen) on November 19, 2018 at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle. It was a packed room of 60-70, but with such a large fleet it is hard to reach everybody at these meetings. So, if you didn’t have the opportunity to attend that meeting, we’ve posted presentation slide decks from the retail marketing program and the sockeye market report. You can view them and other program reports at bbrsda.com/reports or click on the links below:

BBRSDA Retail Marketing Program Presentation

Bristol Bay Sockeye Market Report Presentation

2019 Ice Infrastructure RFP

The BBRSDA has committed $150,000 to support ice infrastructure projects in FY19. This program will provide up to a 100% reimbursement to Bristol Bay processors, entities, or organization on the purchase of new ice making or distribution equipment or towards the cost of refurbishing previously acquired equipment. The goal of the program is to increase ice available to the fleet on the grounds. We will begin the first round of review on proposals on February 1, 2019. Contact Cameo at cameo@bbrsda.com or call 907-677-2371 if you have any questions.

Find the full Request for Proposal here: BBRSDA 2019 Ice Infrastructure RFP

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Fall 2018 Sockeye Market Report Now Available

BBRSDA’s Andy Wink has prepared the Fall 2018 Sockeye Market report. This report contains information on market conditions for Bristol Bay sockeye and an analysis of how much resource value is retained by the harvesting and processor sectors. Andy will also be giving a presentation at the BBRSDA Member Meeting at the Pacific Marine Expo on 11/19 from 1-3pm in Media Room 1D47. Shop by the meeting if you’re at the Show! You can read and download the new report here:

Fall 2018 Sockeye Market Report

BBS-MarketReport-2018Fall-Cover-Final.png

Safety Equipment Discounts from LFS and BBRSDA

ATTENTION: SAFETY DISCOUNTS FOR BB FISHERMEN!! BBRSDA has teamed up with gear suppliers to bring you savings on safety equipment as part of our Safety Initiative program. All of these products could mean the difference between life or death. Click on the pictures below to see discounted safety equipment offered through LFS Marine. Prices are good through Fish Expo (11/20). To order, call LFS Marine at 800-426-8860 or stop in to one of their stores and provide your permit number at checkout. This deal is available for BB driftnetters and setnetters. If you'd like, LFS can ship your items to Naknek or Dillingham for the 2019 season. Safety equipment saves lives! BBRSDA works hard to send you home with as much money in your pocket as possible, but coming home is the most important part of any season.

RSW Discount Program

RSW Discount Program

The BBRSDA has purchased a number of 7.5T hydraulic drive, water cooled, RSW units manufactured by Pacific West Refrigeration.

These units will be available at cost for resale to BBRSDA members on a first come first serve basis. Resale price is $20,500 per unit. Payment must be made in full prior to the release of a unit. The BBRSDA cannot provide financing on the purchase of these units.

Go to bbrsda.com/quality for more information and to apply!

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Summer 2018 Fresh Promotions

Summer 2018 Fresh Promotions

This July, we partnered with five separate retailers to promote Fresh Bristol Bay Sockeye in stores. All in, we supported fresh promotions at more than 350 retail locations from Seattle, to Texas, to Cleveland. We appreciate the support of our retail partners and give kudos to our fleet for delivering chilled, well cared for fish! 

For more details on our 2018 fresh promotions check out our latest Waypoints.

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Economic Benefits of the Bristol Bay Salmon Industry

Prior to joining BBRSDA, Andy Wink recently completed an updated economic impact study about the Bristol Bay salmon industry. The study provides a comprehensive account of fishery value and the economic benefits it produces, making it an excellent reference source for BBRSDA and other industry groups/companies/partners. A summary handout can be found here, or find a comfy chair and read the full report here