Bristol Bay is one of the last powerhouses for clean, wild, and native fish. Both resident and anadromous fish thrive in the Bristol Bay area, which supports its strong sportfishing and commercial fishing economy. A major threat to this watershed is the proposed Pebble Mine, which has led to many organizations binding together in opposition to mining developments. Trout Unlimited became an essential part in the fight against the proposed Pebble Mine by bringing together a variety of supporters.
The Save Bristol Bay campaign is Trout Unlimited’s largest advocacy campaign and it is one of the organization’s focal points. TU began spearheading the effort to gain opposition from the sportfishing industry in Bristol bay and Alaskan hunters and anglers. TU has been a key part in the coalition of Alaska native tribes, native corps, and commercial fishermen and sport fishermen. Most recently, during the scoping process for the Army Corps of Engineers, TU helped gather thousands of comments from anglers both in Alaska and throughout the world in opposition to the proposed project. Comments from sportfishing business owners in the Bristol Bay region and throughout the state supported a large turnout to hearings in Bristol Bay and throughout southcentral Alaska. At a hearing in Anchorage, TU got a crowd of supporters with drift boats and rafts to parade around with No Pebble Mine signs.
TU has helped secure support for the Save Bristol Bay campaign from hundreds of sportsman groups and sportfishing businesses. Simms and Orvis have been two leaders in the opposition by helping get the message out to their customers on this project and sharing why anglers should care about healthy fish habitat in BB. Simms created the Save Our Streams (S.O.S.) campaign, which has been extremely helpful for TU and the opposition. S.O.S. raises awareness and donates money back to essential, threatened watersheds. 33% of the funds from each shirt purchased goes back to help support the Save Bristol Bay campaign. Orvis created a contribution matching campaign in which they matched donations with a goal of raising $80,000. The campaign helped raise funds as well as awareness. Any time that Simms and Orvis can, they make their voice heard on the issue and urge their customers to do the same. This has been an enormous help in the fight against the proposed Pebble Mine.