More than 3,000 people turned out last weekend on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula for Salmonstock, the state’s newest multidimensional music and arts festival celebrating wild salmon. The event, following on the heels of Nushtival at Dillingham, and Fishtival at Naknek earlier this summer, also aimed to raise awareness for conserving habitat for wild salmon in the face of proposed large scale mining ventures which research has shown may cause a threat to spawning streams and the fisheries as a whole. Artists on hand for the festivities, including Ray Troll, created life-sized salmon murals and nearly 400 people participated in an “action of Art” by creating a human mosaic ground design to make a statement about their love for wild Alaska salmon.
The weekend event at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik also included a series of lectures and presentations, and opportunities to get involved in protecting salmon habitat. Native Alaskans from the Bristol Bay community of New Stuyahok also performed, offering a glimpse into a culture intimately connected to the wild salmon.
Salmonstock is just the latest of an ongoing effort by hundreds of people involved in Alaska’s fishing industry to educate more people about the cultural and economic importance of fisheries and the need to protect the fisheries in the face of proposed development of non-renewable resources.
In a related matter, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is accepting public comment through Aug. 12 on the Bristol Bay critical habitat areas draft management plan. The plan addresses five critical habitat areas: Egegik, Pilot Point, Cinder River, Port Heiden and Port Moller on the north side of the Alaska Peninsula.
Call the agency’s habitat division at 907-267-2342 or download the draft management plan at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=bristolbay.draftplan
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