Following years of the Trump administration's open support for Pebble Mine, a tweet from Donald Trump Jr. has tossed a virtual bone to the thousands of Americans who have been fighting the controversial mine's development and permitting process.

The younger Trump tweeted his support for the preservation of Bristol Bay's salmon fishery, calling it "too unique and fragile to take any chances with."

Tensions are high in the region and among the fleets who travel to Bristol Bay every year to harvest North America's largest sockeye salmon fishery. On July 24, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published the Pebble Mine's final environmental impact statement in the Federal Register.

Twitter was aflutter with Bristol Bay fishermen and organizations replying to and sharing the tweet thread, which itself was a reply to Republican strategist Nick Ayers' comment on the mine's "severe cost" to the fishery.

“Today’s remarks by Donald Trump Jr. show just how valuable Bristol Bay is to the nation," said United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley. "People on all sides of the political spectrum agree on this basic truth: Bristol Bay is a national treasure that needs to be protected from threats like the Pebble Mine. It’s time for the EPA to veto this project and protect this world class fishery."

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who has openly opposed the mine, put out a statement in response to the tweet.

“I’m glad to see at least one Trump believes the mine is too risky," Cantwell said. "The science is clear — you can’t put a gold and copper mine on top of the most productive salmon run in the world and not have substantial and permanent damage. Salmon and mining simply do not mix. The construction and operation of the Pebble Mine would have devastating impacts on salmon habitat, salmon populations, the Alaska Native communities that rely on subsistence fisheries, as well as the broader $1.5 billion commercial and recreational sockeye salmon fishery. Let’s prevent this disaster before it happens. I urge the EPA to follow the science, protect our fishermen, and use their authority under the Clean Water Act stop the Pebble Mine for good.”

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Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 15 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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