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Bristol Bay fish must be protected

Posted: Thursday, October 26, 2006

We all know how important fish are to Alaska’s economy. And we all know how important an abundance of clean water is to having healthy, sustainable fish populations. What we don’t know is how Bristol Bay fisheries will fare with the development of huge open-pit mines in the area, such as the proposed Pebble Mine.

Let’s not take any chances. We need to make sure that the fish habitat in the vicinity of the proposed Pebble Mine will forever be productive fish habitat. One way of accomplishing this is to have these waters designated as a state fish refuge, an action that is within the authority of the Board of Fisheries.

Last April (before Northern Dynasty filed for water rights), I submitted a proposal to the Board of Fisheries to establish a State Fish Refuge for Lower Talarik Creek, Upper Talarik Creek and Koktuli River. This is now Proposal 121 which will be considered at the Bristol Bay Finfish Meeting in Dillingham on Dec. 4-12. To review this proposal, go to www.renewableresourcescoalition.org/pebble_mine_news.htm.

Since Proposal 121 is not an allocation issue, all who fish will benefit.

George Matz

Fritz Creek



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