Brian Hagenbuch

Contributing Editor reporting from Seattle, USA

Brian Hagenbuch spent a decade in South America, where he was a journalist for Reuters and Time Out in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. He now lives in Seattle and works as a freelance writer and translator, as well as a commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay. 

Published on
May 21, 2019

The Alaska Superior Court dismissed on Friday, 17 May, a lawsuit against the Bristol Bay Regional Development Association (BBRSDA) that claimed the organization was misusing tax dollars to oppose Pebble Mine, a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run.

Six Bristol Bay fishermen, all members of BBRSDA, filed the lawsuit on 1 April, 2019. A spokesperson for the mine’s

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Published on
April 26, 2019

A coalition of more than 200 businesses that includes Patagonia, Hy-Vee, Whole Foods, and PCC Markets drafted a letter this week to speak out against Pebble Mine, a proposed open-pit copper, gold, and molybdenum mine at the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

The letter from the group, known as Businesses for Bristol Bay, was addressed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Anchorage, and

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Published on
April 10, 2019

Several Bristol Bay fishermen, with financial backing from the Pebble Limited Partnership, have filed a lawsuit against the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Association (BBRSDA) for what they allege is misuse of the BBRSDA’s funds.

The lawsuit is challenging more than USD 250,000 (EUR 221,900) in BBRSDA contracts with two organizations – United Tribes of Bristol Bay and SalmonState – that oppose Pebble Mine, a proposed open pit

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Published on
April 5, 2019

Opposition is growing to a renewed effort to launch a massive mining project near Bristol Bay, Alaska, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. 

Mining conglomerate Pebble Limited Partnership applied for a permit in December 2017 for an open pit copper, gold, and molybdenum mine that would sit near critical headwaters that feed the Bristol Bay fishery. Opponents say the Pebble Mine would undermine the area's pristine

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Published on
February 22, 2019

The Bristol Bay Regional Development Association (BBRSDA) is expanding a marketing campaign it believes will make Bristol Bay sockeye salmon a nationally recognized brand.

In 2016, the association launched a pilot marketing program in nine grocery stores in Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.. The association put its new eye-catching, salmon-hued logo on aprons, printed fish wrap, and stickers, and handed out recipe cards and branded mugs while their

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Published on
February 18, 2019

A lot can change in a few months, fisheries economists are quick to say, but early indications point to very favorable conditions for wild Alaska salmon prices in 2019, especially for sockeye, the state’s top-dollar species.  

Andy Wink, a fisheries economist who also heads the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA), is happy with how the market is looking for the upcoming season.

“I think we’re

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Published on
December 19, 2018

The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council has adopted a new ecosystem-based plan to manage Alaska’s Bering Sea, where climate change is affecting coastal communities and commercial fisheries.

The Bering Sea is among the world’s most productive regions for seafood, but warming water temperatures and a lack of sea ice over recent years have forced the NPFMC to consider new approaches to its management of the sea’s

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Published on
December 7, 2018

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is crossing its fingers that its request goes through for several million dollars in federal aid to defray costs of the trade war between U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration and China.

ASMI, a state-run entity, has requested USD 9 million (EUR 7.9 million) over three years as tariffs threaten to undermine the market for Alaskan seafood in China. The request was submitted to the

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Published on
November 28, 2018

Around mid-August this year, the fishing season in Southeast Alaska looked grim. Some areas had posted the lowest pink salmon landings since the 1970s, and the total pink catch would end up at just around 70 percent of the paltry 23 million fish forecast. For comparison, the 18 million pinks caught in 2016 prompted a disaster declaration from the federal government.

But at the end of August, something unexpected happen. Hatchery chum salmon from

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Published on
November 13, 2018

Last winter, something unprecedented happened in Alaska. For the first time on record, there was no sea ice in the northern Bering Sea, and biologists are now scrambling to figure out how that will affect scores of area fisheries – from crab to salmon to rockfish to various pelagic stocks – in the coming years. 

Because there are few fisheries in the northern Bering Sea, historically it has not been subject to as much surveying

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