By Sarah Schumann
PROVIDENCE — Times are tough for New England’s commercial fishing industry. Just last week federal fisheries regulators announced sweeping cuts to the number of cod that fishermen are allowed to catch. But even in the midst of regional suffering, Rhode Island’s fishermen recently pulled together to support their colleagues on a distant coast: Bristol Bay, Alaska.
The challenge facing commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay is not how to cope with a shortage of fish, as is the case in several high-profile fisheries in New England. Rather, it is to protect a thriving, abundant salmon resource from the potentially harmful effects associated with the proposed Pebble Mine.
Opposition to the Pebble Mine led Bristol Bay salmon fisherman Katherine Carscallen to spend two weeks touring New England ports and rallying local fishermen to her cause. Carscallen represents the advocacy group Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay.
During a Feb. 1 visit to Rhode Island, Carscallen and several local fisheries advocates met with Sen. Jack Reed’s staff to urge support for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action under the Clean Water Act to protect the watersheds of Bristol Bay from mining.
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