Hunters and anglers working together to preserve fish and game habitats and hunting and fishing opportunities on our public lands in Alaska.

Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska

May 8, 2009 Newsletter and Final Auction Results

I hope you’re ready for some news – there’s a bunch of interesting stories and videos this week. And at the end of this week’s edition you’ll find the record-setting final auction tally. Let’s get to the news …

Pebble Partnership Announces 2009 Work Plans
A common question I receive is in regard to what’s going on at the Pebble Mine site this summer. Read this short article from The Mining Record to see what is planned for 2009. Looks like they’re still trying to get to the start of permitting in 2010.

Governor Palin Speaks on Alaska’s Sustainable Fisheries
A more common question I get is “What does Governor Palin think about Pebble Mine?” That’s hard to pin down exactly, but the Governor, who fishes commercially with her husband Todd each summer, recently gave a speech in Kodiak, Alaska, as part of Alaska’s 50th anniversary of statehood celebration. She made some interesting comments regarding her connections to Bristol Bay, making management decisions based on science and not politics, etc. While she doesn’t speak to the Pebble project specifically, she does say some things that are of interest. Here’s a highlighted quote from the Governor’s speech: “The commitment to manage based on biology, not on politics, and the commitment to sustain a 50 year legacy of putting the long term health of the resource above short term health of our wallets is what makes fisheries in Alaska so special.'' See the video here.
Secretary Salazar Presents Southwest Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership with Partners in Conservation Award
This week Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar presented a Partners in Conservation Award to the Southwest Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership for its work in promoting the sustainability of wild salmon populations. It was one of 26 national awards to individuals and organizations presented at a ceremony at Interior headquarters in Washington, D.C., to honor “those who achieve natural resource goals in collaboration and partnership with others.” Click here to read the press release from Department of Interior (DOI).

Interesting situation developing here. We’ve been working to get the new Secretary to halt the implementation of the very flawed plan for managing the BLM lands in the Bristol Bay region, which was issued last November by the previous DOI leadership. It surely doesn’t make sense for DOI to recognize efforts to protect critical salmon habitat in southwest Alaska on one hand, and then allow another DOI agency to lift restrictions on federal lands in the region which would throw open the doors to future large-scale mining exploration and potential development.

“No Net Loss” … Is this the future for Bristol Bay? Let’s hope not.
For those of you that have seen Red Gold, you’ll recall that a spokesperson for the Pebble Partnership makes a comment about their commitment to the concept of “no net loss” of fishery resources in the Bristol Bay region. Basically, if they screw up, and wild fishery stocks are impaired, they’ll see that the fishery resources are “enhanced” by other means. Whether that means hatchery fish stocks for Bristol Bay, or fish farms to replace the wild salmon harvest we’re not really sure. Either way, it’s not right. If you want to see a disturbing video about how the wild sockeye runs on Canada’s Fraser River are being impacted by the profusion of fish farms along their migratory route, click here. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned.

Final Results of the Bristol Bay Online Fundraising Auction Update – WE TOPPED LAST YEAR!
The second annual fundraising auction for Bristol Bay has wrapped up. Gross proceeds were $54,870! We topped the 2008 auction results by $3,000!

This annual auction is possible due to the very generous contributions of so many companies, lodges, outfitters, and artists. Please support them when you are considering the next purchase of gear, art, or that trip of a lifetime.

Thank you also to the blogs, Web sites and magazines who helped spread the word.

You can start saving your spare change for the third annual Bristol Bay Online Fundraising Auction, which will launch in early 2010. Until then, a final tip of the hat to the generous bidders whose purchases helped raise some good money for a very good cause:

That’ll do it for this edition of the SAA E-News and Auction Wrap Up. Good luck on the water and in the field – remember to be safe, and take time to introduce a beginner to fishing, hunting, and the great outdoors.

Thanks for all you do for Alaska conservation!

Scott Hed
Director – Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska

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