Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, which is supported by over 100 commercial fishing organizations and businesses from Alaska and around the country who believe Bristol Bay and its fishery must be protected, has written President Obama to ask for a swift release of the EPA’s updated draft watershed assessment. Releasing the updated draft by March 19th will ensure that commercial fishermen from Bristol Bay and around the country have ample opportunity to comment and participate in the process before fishing season begins in late spring.

From the letter: “The original Bristol Bay watershed assessment public comment period garnered over 225,000 responses in a 60-day period, with over 95% of the comments in support of the watershed assessment and EPA action to protect the fishery. To guarantee that Bristol Bay fishermen, as well as interested citizens from across the country, have the opportunity to make their voices heard once again on the issue, we urge the EPA to conclude its peer review and release the updated draft watershed assessment by March 19th. This will ensure that fishermen will be able to comment on the EPA’s work, and will keep the final assessment on track for an early-summer release.”

“Though we believe EPA’s decision to conduct a second peer review and public comment is redundant and unnecessary, it is now incumbent upon the White House and the EPA to ensure that the people most directly impacted by the proposed Pebble Mine are given ample opportunity to comment on its updated draft watershed assessment,” said Bob Waldrop, executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. “Further delay will not change the fact that the Pebble Mine poses unacceptable risks to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery; further delay only creates more uncertainty for an industry that supports 12,000 jobs. The EPA must conclude its work as quickly as possible.”

To view the full letter, please click here.

Image courtesy Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay

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