Written by Jen Finn
As the elected Tribal leaders from the villages of Ekwok, Koliganek, Dillingham, New Stuyahok, and Levelock who petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to exercise their authority under the Clean Water Act, we are thankful that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy took the time to listen to the people of Bristol Bay. We take exception to former Gov. Frank Murkowski's statement that EPA "self-initiated" the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. That is an insult to the hard work of the Tribes to research and understand the issues and submit our request to EPA.
We requested EPA take action under the Clean Water Act Section 404c, since we believe that Bristol Bay is a unique place with the largest wild Alaska salmon population in the world that deserves further protections that are offered under the Clean Water Act. The overwhelming numbers of people of Bristol Bay believe this with 99 percent of the comments on the recent Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment from within Bristol Bay was in support of EPA action. A vast majority of comments from Alaskans outside Bristol Bay also supported action (with over 80 percent support) and over 70 percent of Americans. Without any doubt, Alaskans stand strongly behind our Tribes and the EPA on this issue.
We have been involved in attending many meetings over the Pebble project. We've listened to Bruce Jenkins from Northern Dynasty (50-percent owner of Pebble prospect) tell Bristol Bay folks, if the fish populations are harmed, Pebble will replace them by capture and relocation. We've looked over Northern Dynasty's application to take 100 percent of the water from the South and North Fork of the Koktuli and Upper Talarik Rivers. We've looked over their Wardrop Report that depicts a mine plan that was given to their investors.
And we've watched the state of Alaska under Gov. Frank Murkowski's leadership take the Bristol Bay Area Plan go from one of salmon protection to one of paving the way for development. Our Tribes had to sue the state of Alaska over that plan.
Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.
Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.Read more...