Cantwell Statement on President’s Action to Protect Bristol Bay Fisheries

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement on President Obama’s action to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska from oil and gas drilling.

“I applaud the Administration for protecting Bristol Bay and the thousands of Northwest fishing jobs it supports,” said Cantwell, a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard.  “Bristol Bay supports a $2 billion fishing industry that helps to sustain economies in Washington and Alaska. This decision affirms that we will not put fishing jobs at risk in the home of the nation’s most productive commercial fisheries.”

Bristol Bay supports crab, halibut, groundfish and more than half the sockeye salmon on the planet. In total, 40 percent of American wild seafood comes from Bristol Bay. Thousands of Washington state jobs – including commercial and recreational fishing, processing, shipbuilding and the restaurant industry – depend on Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay is the most productive salmon run in the world, supporting 14,000 full and part-time salmon-related jobs.

Cantwell has long fought to protect Washington fishing jobs from potentially harmful developments in Bristol Bay. She has led efforts to stop a large mining company from developing the Pebble Mine, a massive pit mine, near Bristol Bay. Cantwell called on the Environmental Protection Agency to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to block the project after the EPA’s watershed assessment showed there would be severe impacts to salmon and water quality. In July, the EPA issued proposed limits to the Pebble Mine project.