Bristol Bay salmon broke all records this summer. The largest recorded run of sockeye salmon–an amazing 62.3 million–returned to Bristol Bay in 2018. This brought a collective sigh of relief to the people of the region where I call home. But our salmon need more from us. They need us to vote.
Many of my neighbors rely on salmon for their livelihoods, food and culture. I fill my freezer with fish every year, too. I want to make sure we have salmon in the years to come. You can help do that by voting for candidates and measures that protect fish and wildlife. Alaskans can do just that this year by voting yes on Ballot Measure 1 this weekend or on Election Day Nov. 6.
Voting Yes on 1 will protect salmon habitat by providing a reasonable, fair, science-based update to a law that has not been changed since statehood.
I know from my work as an associate professor of Environmental Science at The University of Alaska Bristol Bay Campus, where I specialize in research on estuaries, that a science-based and data-driven approach to permitting will protect salmon habitat now and in the future.
If passed, Ballot Measure 1 will create a permitting system backed by science and agency experts, not politics.
- Ballot Measure 1 creates standards for protecting salmon habitat and a permitting structure that would require more scrutiny based on the amount of harm done to fish habitat.
- Ballot Measure 1 gives Alaskans a voice for the first time by requiring a public process before the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issues fish habitat permits.
- Ballot Measure 1 holds industry accountable by preventing harm and mitigating harm done to salmon habitat.
- Ballot Measure 1 protects all salmon habitat, not just the streams and rivers that have made it onto a list.
A Yes vote on 1 really does stand for salmon.
Industry would have you believe that “ocean problems are causing declining salmon runs.”
Oceans are not the problem. Inaction is the problem.
Alaskans have been asking legislators to upgrade and strengthen the law protecting fish habitat for years. Those requests, even from the Board of Fish, fell on deaf ears.
The legislature’s refusal to do anything left Alaskans with only one option to change the law. Trustees for Alaska worked hand-in-hand with clients to help draft initiative language and fight in court so that Alaskan voters can pass the law they want.
Bristol Bay had a stellar year in 2018, but many fisheries across the state did not. Many regions closed fisheries because of dismal runs.
Putting protections in place now means saving salmon for generations to come.
The work that Trustees does is about making sure Alaskans have a say about what happens in their communities.
With Ballot Measure 1, it’s about wild salmon. It’s about the 32,000 Alaska jobs and the $2-billion industry salmon supports.
It’s about Alaskans catching and caching wild salmon, and sharing that fish with their family and friends.
It’s about my home.
Todd A. Radenbaugh, PhD
Please Vote Yes on 1 by November 6, and donate to the lawyers who Stand for Salmon.
Trustees for Alaska’s EIN #92-6010379