EARTHblog » Bonnie Gestring
August 30, 2011
Spawning salmon in Hanson Creek.
Photo: Nick Hall
It s no surprise that there is overwhelming concern over the impact of the proposed Pebble Mine on the Bristol Bay salmon fishery. It s the world s largest wild salmon fishery, and the economic engine for the region.
Anglo American, the UK-based company proposing the mine, says that mining and salmon can co-exist, and they point to the Fraser River as an example of that.
These two river systems are so different it s an odd comparison. But, more importantly, it completely undermines (no pun intended) their case.
A new paper by two fisheries biologists reports that impaired water quality and human development changes have resulted in the lowest productivity of Fraser River sockeye in over 50 years!
August 3, 2011
Although Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll has repeatedly promised that the company wouldn't go forward with the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska's Bristol Bay if local communities don't support the mine, the company is suing to prevent local Alaskans from voting on a ballot initiative in October about whether they want the mine. (See the ad from Alaska natives urging her to keep her promise.)
The ballot measure, if approved, would prevent the planning commission from issuing a development permit to any large resource extraction activity that would have a significant adverse impact on salmon-producing streams. Ironically, Cynthia Carroll has also promised that the mine wouldn't go forward if it would harm salmon.
The issue is of international significance. The massive mine is proposed at the headwaters of Bristol Bay in the Bristol Bay Fishery Reserve - home to the world's largest and most valuable wild salmon fishery, which produces roughly 50% of the world's commercial supply of wild salmon. A recent peer reviewed risk assessment found concluded that the risks to wild salmon populations from such mining are very high, and that it is cause for significant concern regarding the long- term abundance and sustainability of salmon in the region.