Bristol Bay featured in documentary shorts


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
February 4, 2014

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) on Monday released a series of short documentaries on its website and YouTube page.

The videos capture the Alaska’s Bristol Bay, the values of the 1,800 small business owners who make their livelihood there and the sustainable resource harvested in the world’s largest wild sockeye fishery.

Filmmaker and life-long Bristol Bay fisherman, Elijah Lawson, teamed up with Randall Peck to create “The Process,” “Community,” and “The Mershons,” three portraits of Bristol Bay fishermen and their families.

Huge tides, high winds and shallow channels make Bristol Bay a challenging environment for the small-boat fleet that operates there and extreme responsibilities come with owning and running a fishing business. Alaska’s fishermen don’t just pull in nets, they’re also mechanics, accountants, cooks, managers, and advocates for a way of life — quickly adapting to as many roles as there are hours in the day.

The Bristol Bay seafood industry supports 12,000 jobs and generates more than USD 1.5 billion (EUR 1.1 billion) in total economic activity. Last month, the EPA released its final Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, which cautions that large-scale mining could have devastating effects on the salmon fishery and pose serious risks for Alaska Natives, whose culture is built around salmon.

“These videos capture the essence of what Bristol Bay fishermen have been fighting so hard to protect,” said Bob Waldrop, BBRSDA executive director. “Our concerns were heard and the BBRSDA is grateful for the rigorous scientific approach of this assessment. Moving forward, we will continue our steadfast work to protect our fishery, industry and livelihoods.”

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