Businesses join tribes and fishermen in the call for long-term protection of Bristol Bay

More than 200 businesses ask EPA to permanently block the Pebble Mine

Juneau, AK - Today, the Businesses for Bristol Bay coalition released an open letter to the Biden administration and Congress with more than 200 companies and industry associations voicing their support for permanent protection of Bristol Bay’s wild salmon fishery. Business signers range from leaders in the food service and retail industries, including Sysco, Wegmans, Publix, and Hy-Vee to outdoor recreation and commercial fishing brands, such as Patagonia, Keen, Sitka, Costa, MeatEater and Grundéns.

Home to the world’s largest wild salmon fishery, Bristol Bay supplies half of the world’s sockeye salmon, providing 15,000 American jobs and generating $2.2 billion in annual economic activity. This year, Bristol Bay is expected to see more than 50 million sockeye salmon return, making it the 3rd highest season forecast on record. 

In the letter, businesses call for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to block the proposed Pebble Mine through Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, which gives the EPA the authority  to restrict activities that would cause adverse impacts to the environment. In 2014, the Obama administration began the 404(c) process after conducting a multi-year scientific study and meeting with local communities. That process was stalled in 2014 when the Pebble Limited Partnership sued the EPA and the Trump administration later removed the Obama administration’s proposed protections for Bristol Bay in 2019.

“A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. The fisheries of Bristol Bay are a shining example of a thriving renewable industry that is managed responsibly and supports both local family businesses and large international corporations,” said David Levine, Co-Founder and President of the American Sustainable Business Council. “Protecting Bristol Bay is a way for the Biden administration to make good on its pledge to address climate change, empower Indigenous communities, and build a stable and vibrant economy for our country. Permanently closing the door for the Pebble Mine is an important opportunity that the Biden administration should act on immediately.”

“Our company is committed and invested in sourcing only the most sustainable and high-quality seafood for our customers. We depend heavily on Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery for much of our wild Alaska salmon, which is a popular product among our seafood offerings. We support Bristol Bay’s tribes and commercial fishermen in their efforts to protect this incredible wild fishery from the threat of the proposed Pebble Mine,” said Jason Pride, Vice President of Meat and Seafood at Hy-Vee.

“Grundéns remains committed to helping Bristol Bay’s communities and fishermen get permanent protections in place and call on the Biden administration and Congress to do the same. From an intrinsic values standpoint, we have a responsibility to steward our natural resources and ensure that future generations can also enjoy America’s rich fishing heritage,” said David Mellon, Chief Executive Officer of Grundéns.  “From a business standpoint, it’s critical to our employee’s and company’s survival that we protect the Bristol Bay ecosystem from large-scale mining and the irreversible impacts associated with that. Without fish, there is no us, and there is no Grundéns.  We simply could not exist without healthy fisheries like Bristol Bay.”

“Bristol Bay is a world-class sport fishing destination that is unmatched in its wildness and abundance. It’s a national treasure that elected officials on both sides of the aisle agree is the wrong place for the Pebble Mine,” said Lucas Bissett, Executive Director of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA).The science clearly demonstrates that salmon and mining do not mix. It’s time for the EPA to act on that science and put Clean Water Act protections in place for Bristol Bay,” added Whitney Tilt, Executive Director of the AFFTA Fisheries Fund.


Media Contacts:

Elizabeth Herendeen, elizabeth@salmonstate.org, 970.889.1440

Scott Hed, scott@sportsmansalliance4ak.org, 605.351.1646