Bristol Bay Waypoints: November 12, 2015
Welcome new Executive Director, Becky Martello!
The BBRSDA Board of Directors is pleased to announce that effective December 14, 2015, Becky Martello will take over the executive wheelhouse of the BBRSDA. Becky grew up in Bristol Bay and fished her way through college. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from the University of Alaska Southeast, where she successfully completed a Graduate Seminar in Marketing. Her graduate work focused on development of a marketing plan for a proposed salmon processing business based in Naknek.
Becky comes to the BBRSDA from the Sitka-based Alaska Marine Safety Education Association, where she has served as Development Director/Assistant Director. Having also worked for the Aleutian-Pribilof CDQ group, she has had good exposure to Alaska’s fisheries and fishermen.
Becky remains tied to Bristol Bay and has always had a strong desire to do something to benefit the fishery she loves, the area she calls home, and the many fishermen and residents she calls friends. Her experience in the professional world exposed her to the policy side of Alaska fisheries and enabled her to work with rural communities from a development standpoint. “Growing up in Bristol Bay, I already knew the importance of commercial fishing on the region, but seeing it from the outside gave me new perspective and showed me that I wanted to eventually be involved in a project that would benefit and enhance the Bristol Bay region and its fisheries.”
Please join the board in welcoming Becky to her new position!
The BBRSDA board wants to hear from YOU...
SUGGESTIONS GLADLY ACCEPTED!
During Pacific Marine Expo, the BBRSDA board would appreciate your picking up a member suggestion form from its booth (501) or during the November 19 member meeting from 8–10 a.m. If you aren’t attending Expo, the survey will be available soon online at bbrsda.com. The board would like to learn what is most important to its membership as it develops future programs and activities.
To be entered for one of two grand prizes worth $500 in fuel via a voucher delivered directly to your processor, please pick up a suggestion form, fill it out, and drop it off at Booth 501 during Pacific Marine Expo, submit online at bbrsda.com, or mail it to the BBRSDA by December 1, 2015.
Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay
As a reminder, earlier this fall the BBRSDA transferred its Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay (CFBB) project to Salmon State, a project in Alaska intended to work comprehensively to protect fisheries habitat statewide. The unanimous board vote to transfer CFBB to Salmon State was explicitly made to enable CFBB to more fully and effectively advocate protections on behalf of Bristol Bay’s commercial fishermen in ways that the BBRSDA simply can’t, given political and statutory constraints on its funding. To keep BBRSDA members informed, CFBB was asked to provide an update regarding the status of efforts to protect Bristol Bay’s salmon habitat.
November 2015 Pebble Mine Update
Lindsey Bloom, CFBB/Salmon State
It’s been awhile since we’ve updated on the proposed Pebble Mine. As you may remember, last year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. The Assessment was a multi-year scientific review and public process that came at the request of Bristol Bay tribes, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, and fishermen. The Watershed Assessment led EPA to conclude that the proposed Pebble Mine, as described in the mine planning documents that Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) had filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, posed a significant threat to the waters and fisheries of the Bristol Bay region and therefore proposed an action under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to restrict certain mining discharges and tailings storage practices in and around the Pebble deposit.
While EPA’s objective science-based decision was celebrated by a majority of Bristol Bay residents and fishermen, progress has slowed to a stop due to a Pebble lawsuit brought against the EPA.
The litigation claims that EPA colluded with local Tribes, corporations, and fishermen’s groups to find a way to stop Pebble before the assessment process was complete. While the lawsuit is little more than a stall tactic to prevent EPA action from being finalized before the end of President Obama’s administration, it poses a significant setback in our efforts to secure protection for Bristol Bay.
Clearly, without any major investors and EPA proposing restrictions on mining in and around the Pebble deposit, the PLP launched a desperate attempt at resurrecting its project amongst investors by spending its remaining budget on D.C. lawyers and lobbyists. These tactics, however, are little more than an attempt to smear mine opponents and undermine the EPA’s proposed decision to protect Bristol Bay. Last week commercial fishermen were on hand to fight back. Representatives of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay (CFBB) attended a congressional hearing in Washington D.C. that was focused on Pebble and joined Bristol Bay partners in petitioning the State of Alaska to make the Pebble Partnership go back out into the field and reclaim their exploratory drill sites. The State of Alaska has yet to determine if those sites are properly capped or continue to leach acid into the tundra. We don’t want to see watershed residents left with the bill for a clean up job that PLP has left behind. For more detailed information check out the articles below and swing by the CFBB booth and BBRSDA member meeting at Expo!
Anchorage Daily News Article on Pebble Hearing
Anchorage Daily News Article on Petition for Reclamation in Bristol Bay
Opinion piece by Naknek drifter Everett Thompson and sport lodge owner Brian Kraft