Bristol Bay, Alaska© Ryan Peterson

Bristol Bay


Bristol Bay

Protecting the world’s greatest sockeye fishery

One of the greatest threats to Alaskan salmon is the proposed Pebble Mine at the headwaters of the Nushagak and Kvichak rivers in the Bristol Bay region – the most productive salmon ecosystem in the world. If constructed, Pebble would be the world’s second largest open pit copper/gold/molybdenum mine and include the world’s largest earthen dam, to hold back 10 billion tons of toxic tailings and contaminated water. The mine and tailings lake would site just north of Illiamna Lake.

Hanging in the balance is a $1.5 billion-a-year salmon fishing economy and an important subsistence food source for Bristol Bay communities.

Wild Salmon Center developed a technical report that examines the threats to Bristol Bay’s wild salmon fisheries posed by the Pebble Mine.  We will continue to work with partners to inform both Alaskans and the nation about the mine’s risk to salmon.

The Environmental Protection Agency has initiated a process using its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay’s headwaters.  However, the Pebble Mine is not dead. Northern Dynasty, the mine’s sole remaining partner, has begun a costly legal battle that has stalled EPA’s efforts.

We are working with Alaskan partners to protect the region from large-scale mining, on behalf of all those who depend on Bristol Bay’s healthy salmon runs.

© Ben Knight
$1.5 billion: value of Bristol Bay salmon fishing economy
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