March 28, 2012

Lisa Jackson, Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460

Dear Administrator Jackson,

As members of the U.S. commercial fishing and seafood industries, we know what happens when fisheries and watersheds are not cared for. We have watched the decline of too many fisheries due to loss of habitat, and we have seen that even billions of dollars cannot fully restore most of those fisheries following inappropriate development.  All too often, attempts to reverse the damage are less effective and more expensive than prevention.  Fishermen, and former fishermen, across the nation have experienced this.  Until recently, such a fate seemed to await the salmon fishery of Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Therefore, we thank the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for starting a scientific assessment of the Bristol Bay, Alaska watershed.  It is in places like Bristol Bay where our industry has the rare opportunity to maintain a resource and a fishery that is still healthy, and has the proven capacity to sustain thousands of fishing businesses — from small family-owned operations to some of the largest seafood companies in the country.  Let’s protect this fishery, and do it right, while we still have the chance.

The EPA is not a traditional ally of our industry, but in this case, EPA acted with common sense and foresight.  It is commendable when a government agency takes steps to thoroughly assess the vulnerabilities of a complex habitat before momentum builds for specific development plans.

As you know, Bristol Bay’s commercial salmon fishery is among the most productive and valuable of the nation’s fisheries.  Any degradation to that fishery could be devastating for Bristol Bay fishermen and have a ripple effect throughout the country.  We are united in our concern over the impacts to the fishery from large-scale developments such as the proposed Pebble Mine.

We support EPA’s scientific review of Bristol Bay.  And, while we thank you for initiating this review process, we also ask that this study be considered a first step.  The EPA has the authority under the Clean Water Act to invoke Section 404(c), which could bestow on Bristol Bay the protection it needs from the type of large-scale developments that can devastate fisheries, either through catastrophic events or chronic habitat degradation over time.

The undersigned commercial fishing organizations and businesses urge EPA to complete a thorough science-based assessment of Bristol Bay; and, if supported by that assessment’s results, apply its authority under Clean Water Act Section 404(c) to withdraw waters and wetlands in the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed from dredge and fill activity associated with large scale mining operations.


Bob Waldrop, Executive Director
Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association
Anchorage, Alaska

Jim Edson, President
Alaska Independent Tenderman’s Association
Sitka, Alaska

Walt Pasternak, Executive Director
Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association
Sitka, Alaska

Steve Tvenstrup, President
United Cook Inlet Drift Association
Soldotna, Alaska

Steve Reifenstuhl, Executive Director
Southeast Herring Conservation Alliance
Sitka, Alaska

Dale Kelley, Executive Director
Alaska Trollers Association
Juneau, Alaska

Tom Rollman, President
Greater Nushagak Setnetter’s Association
Eagle River, Alaska

Kevin Brennan, Executive Director
Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association
Kodiak, Alaska

Justin Martin, Owner
Prop Shop
Dillingham, Alaska

Mike Sparks, Owner
Alaska Net Supply Inc.
Dillingham, Alaska

Mark Munro, Captain
F/V Loki
Homer, Alaska

Luke Schwantes, Captain
F/V Sea Hag
Wasilla, Alaska

Everett Thompson, Owner
Naknek Family Fisheries
Naknek, Alaska

Wassillie Gust Jr. President
Stuyahok Limited
New Stuyahok, Alaska

Greta Horn, Captain
F/V Maddie C.
Anchorage, Alaska

Robert Gallimore, Captain
Commercial Fisherman
Naknek, Alaska

Scott Irons
F/V Sandy Point Maid
Sitka, Alaska

Donald H. Lee III, Owner
Third-Gen Holdings LLC
Fairbanks, Alaska

Brian Rutzer, President
Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association
Cordova, Alaska

Ed and Olivia Flannery, Captains
F/V Anjelica Joy
Palmer, Alaska

David Harsila, Executive Director
Alaska Independent Fishermen’s Marketing Association
Seattle, Washington

Norman Van Vactor, Operations Manager
Leader Creek Fisheries, Inc.
Seattle, Washington

Sig Hansen, Captain
Seattle, Washington

John McDonald, President
Ocean Run Seafoods
Seattle, Washington

Sue Dazey, Executive Director
Washington Trollers Association
Kingston, Washington

Brent Paine, Executive Director
United Catcher Boats
Seattle, Washington

Gregory B. Blakey, President
Snopac Products Inc.
Seattle, Washington

Randy Hartnell, President
Vital Choice Seafood
Bellingham, Washington

Scott Sinclair, Owner
Pacific Diving Enterprises
Kent, Washington

Fran Kaul, Owner
Misty Fjord Seafood
Winthrop, Washington

Michael A. Jackson, President
Grundens USA Ltd.
Poulsbo, Washington

George Jovanovich, President
Jovanovich Supply Co. Inc.
SeaTac, Washington

Darren Lobo, President
Matrix Marine Inc.
Darrington, Washington

Jack Giard, Executive Director
Washington Reef Net Owner’s Association
Nooksack, Washington

Janis Harsila, Manager
Puget Sound Salmon Commission
Seattle, Washington

Bob Alverson, General Manager
Fishing Vessel Owners Association
Seattle, Washington

Jeff Osborn, President
Dock Street Brokers
Seattle, Washington

Fred Marinkovich, President
Puget Sound Harvesters Association
Seattle, Washington

Kurt Ness, General Manager
Integrated Marine Systems
Seattle, Washington

Mike Painter, General Manager
The Permit Master
Anacortes, Washington

Brett Veerhusen, President
The Real Alaska, LLC
Seattle, Washington

Richard G Blanc, Manager
High Rock Fisheries
Mount Vernon, Washington

Mike Clark, President
Clark Fishing LLC
Cathlamet, Washington

Donald D. Martinson, Captain
Edmonds, Washington

John Grocott, President
Grocott Fisheries LLC
Ilwaco Washington

David Dingle, Site Manager
LFS Inc.
Bellingham, Washington

Matthew Mardesich, Captain
Commercial Fisherman
Anacortes, Washington

Oregon Salmon Commission
F/V New Dawn
Newport, Oregon

Jim Wells, President
Salmon For All
Astoria, Oregon

Stephanie Mutz, President
Commercial Fisherman of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California

Zeke Grader, Executive Director
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations
San Francisco, California

Nechole Spale, Owner
Emerald Mountain Therapeutics
Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Jim Ruhle, President
Commercial Fishermen of America
San Francisco, California

Ben Martins, Executive Director
Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association
Topsham, Maine

Maggie Raymond, Executive Director
Associated Fisheries of Maine
South Berwick, Maine

Monique Coombs, Executive Director
Lobsters on the Fly
Orrs Island, Maine

Jessica Hathaway, Editor in Chief
National Fisherman magazine
Portland, Maine

Lanny Dellinger, President
Rhode Island Lobstermen’s Association
Wakefield, Rhode Island

Patrice McCarron, Executive Director
Maine Lobstermen’s Association
Kennebunk, Maine

Christopher Brown, President
Rhode Island Commercial Fisherman’s Association
West Kingston, Rhode Island

Richard Fuka, President
Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance
East Greenwich, Rhode Island

Bill Adler, President
Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association Inc.
Scituate, Massachusetts

John Pappalardo, Chief Executive Officer
Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association
Chatham, Massachusetts

J.J. Bartlett, President
Fishing Partnership
Burlington, Massachusetts

Niaz Dorry, Coordinating Director
Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Jared Auerbach, Owner
Red’s Best?Boston, Massachusetts

Angela Sanfilippo, President
Gloucester Fishermen’s Wife Association
Gloucester, Massachusetts

A. Michael Vlahovich
Coastal Heritage Alliance
St. Michaels, Maryland

Marc Bourgeois, Member
Ironworkers local 15
Bristol, Connecticut

Jack H Cox Jr, Owner
Crystal Coast Fisheries Inc.
Morehead City, North Carolina

Larry Simns, President
Maryland Watermen’s Association
Annapolis, Maryland

Heidi Dunlap, Owner
Wild Salmon Co
Asheville, North Carolina

Ted Universal, President
New York State Aquaculture Association
Geneseo, New York

Frank Blum, Executive Director
South Carolina Seafood Alliance
Charleston, South Carolina

Bob Jones, Executive Director
Southeastern Fisheries Association
Tallahassee, Florida

John Williams, Executive Director
Southern Shrimp Alliance
Tarpon Springs, Florida

Tj Tate, Executive Director
Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance
Galveston, Texas



Ken Salazar, Secretary, Department of Interior
Rebecca Blank, Acting Secretary , Department of Commerce
Nancy Sutley, Chair, Council on Environmental Quality
Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Bob Abbey, Director, Bureau of Land Management
John Jarvis, Director, National Park Service
Rowan Gould, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator from Alaska
Mark Begich, U.S. Senator from Alaska