Alaska Salmon Cry for Help! (If They Could Talk)

As I write this, tens of millions of salmon are beginning to return to the streams, rivers and headwaters of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve in Alaska.  They are in the final stage of completing a life cycle that began years earlier in the very same location and as long as the spawning grounds are intact and protected, these runs will continue to thrive forever.

sockeye salmon
Spawning sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Photo: Michael Melford, Renewable Resources Foundation.
But this vast, pristine habitat—home to one of the most important salmon fisheries in the world— is facing a catastrophic threat. Given massive discoveries of gold and copper deep below the surface of Bristol Bay’s headwaters, a foreign mining conglomerate called the Pebble Partnership plans to build North America’s largest open pit mine. Should toxic mining waste from the Pebble Mine find its way into the watershed, the effects would prove catastrophic to salmon and the entire ecosystem.

Please take a moment to watch this video and hear what Bristol Bay means to Alaskans. See what all of us will lose if the massive open pit mining project is allowed to move forward.


The core issue involving the Bristol Bay watershed and fishery is one of the most important conservation issues in the United States today.  And while it is not well publicized in the lower 48, it is a front page issue here in Alaska.  The basic question is whether to conserve and protect this sustainable natural resource or to develop it in the form of what would become the largest open pit copper and gold mine in North America.  Needless to say, the stakes are high on both sides of this debate.


Grizzly bear fishing
Grizzly bear fishing in Alaskan waters. Photo: Ben Greenheck, USFS.
If you love wildlife and wild places; if you believe in sustainable ecosystems; if you value Native cultures; if you enjoy fishing; or if you just love to eat wild Alaska salmon, please join us.

We only have a few more days to generate much needed funding to help protect Wild Salmon and we need your help!

Donate-ButtonChip in to protect salmon and other Alaska wildlife from a massive open-pit copper mine. 

Anders GustafsonAbout the Author

Anders Gustafson is the Executive Director of a hunting and fishing non-profit and NWF’s Alaska affiliate, the Renewable Resources Coalition and Foundation, based in Anchorage Alaska. Anders has guided and fished the waters of Bristol Bay for 18 years but for the last 7 years he has worked to educate people across the State of Alaska about the economic importance and natural magnificence of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve and the threat it faces from the Pebble Mine.  Anders has a degree in Outdoor Education and Environmental Studies from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He lives in Homer, AK with his wife and 2 small children living a life in the wild.