Johnathan Hillstrand, captain of the Time Bandit on Discovery’s Deadliest Catch speaks out against the proposed Pebble Mine.
“For everyone who counts on the salmon industry to make a living, the Pebble project is the Deadliest Mine. They’re foreign mining companies that want to sell gold and copper to the Chinese. I am deeply offended that we are even debating this topic anymore. Fishermen say no, Alaskans say no, how many times do we need to keep saying no?”
Here are some facts on why the Pebble Mine will kill 14,000 hard-working American jobs that puts over 10 billion tons of toxic waste in the world’s largest salmon fishery.
Foreign multinationals are planning one of the world’s largest hard rock copper, gold and molybdenum sulfite mines in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska. The mine area spans over 150 square miles directly on top of some of the richest salmon grounds in our nation. Additionally:
- Four massive earthen dams will be constructed; the largest measures 740 feet, which is taller than the Space Needle!
- These earthen dams are supposed to hold back up to 10.78 billion tons of toxic waste, forever.
- That’s 3,000 pounds of toxic waste for every man, woman and child on earth.
Salmon are highly sensitive to pollution, especially copper. If salmon are exposed to even miniscule amounts of copper (parts per billion), their sense of smell is interfered and impairs their ability to locate spawning grounds and identify predators.
- Over time, negative environmental impacts on salmon streams can have a catastrophic domino effect on salmon populations and our commercial fishery.
UK-based Anglo American is the senior partner in the Pebble Partnership developing the mine project (along with junior partner Northern Dynasty). Anglo has a disastrous track record on the environment and worker safety at its worldwide mines, including:
- Zimbabwe – Acid runoff contaminated groundwater and polluted the Yellow Jacket River from a mine owned by Anglo American until 2003
- Nevada – Anglo American is responsible for the largest source of mercury air pollution in United States history. Recommendations to limit fish consumption have been issued for downwind fisheries.
- Ireland – Lead and zinc contaminated river sediments and sections of the river were closed to anglers.
- Over 220 mine workers have died at Anglo American mining operations in the last five years.
Proposed mining activity in the very headwaters of Bristol Bay will jeopardize spawning and rearing habitat and could nullify over 50 years of sustained yield management. It is well known that the long-term sustainability of the salmon fisheries requires healthy and abundant habitat for spawning and rearing.
Why Johnathan Depends on Bristol Bay
The Time Bandit is frequently a tender in Bristol Bay during the summer months where the boat picks up salmon from the fishing boats and brings the harvest back to the processors. His boat is also responsible for getting fuel, groceries and mail to the fishing boats. Johnathan’s family has been tendering in Bristol Bay for over 30 years.
Lend Your Voice to Protect 14,000 American Jobs and a $1.5 Billion Fishery
Sig Hansen, Captain Northwestern Speaks Out Against Pebble Mine
“This is the first time I can remember commercial fishermen from the entire country speaking so clearly in support of a regional fishery. We’re usually pretty independent, and focus on our own areas, but it’s clear that fishermen and consumers from across the country value Bristol Bay salmon and will not let a mega mine jeopardize it.”
Sig Hansen released a statement for Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay in March, 2012 emphasizing how fishermen are united in stopping the proposed Pebble Mine. Chefs, tribes, churches, sportsmen, jewelers and political officials have also joined the campaign against Pebble.
Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay
Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay is a group of commercial fishermen and fishing organizations from around the country that are working together to protect our industry and commercial fishing jobs in Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay is the world’s largest salmon fishery that produces over 50% of the world’s supply of sockeye salmon.
As responsible fishermen we understand sustainability – the need to protect fish populations over the long haul. In Alaska, commercial fishermen take care of the salmon because we realize the salmon take care of us. That’s the way it has been in Bristol Bay since the commercial salmon fishery started in the 1870’s – and for 10,000 years before the commercial fishery. And that is why Bristol Bay is the world’s most valuable remaining wild salmon fishery.
We are privileged to be the current stewards of this abundant resource. Ours is a remote fishery in a sparsely populated area. Spawning habitats are nearly pristine, and our returning salmon number in the tens of millions, year after year. This is the world’s most valuable remaining salmon run – a treasure that every American can take pride in.