An umbrella group representing seafood processors operating throughout coastal Alaska has had a change of heart about development of a massive copper, gold and molybdenum mine in Southwest Alaska.
After careful consideration of its initial stance four years ago, the Pacific Seafood Processors Association says it has concluded that the level of risk to fisheries posed by the Pebble mine is simply too high.
PSPA said that “while we acknowledge the potential short-term economic benefits of this enormous project, we can see no way that it can be developed, operated and concluded without – at some point- causing irreparable harm to the watersheds, ecosystems, fishery resources, businesses, people and communities of the region.
“Furthermore, we know from past experience that actual or perceived damage to the purity of the waters or fish of the Bristol Bay region would harm the marketability of Alaska salmon and other seafood species, even from other regions of the state.”
PSPA noted that since the organization became active in 1914 it had never before taken a position in opposition to any specific development project or category of projects of other natural resource industries.
Still, after careful consideration, PSPA said, the organization feels compelled to oppose development of the mine because of its unique location, size and potential harm.
Back in 2007, PSPA’s board of directors was generally supportive of allowing the project to proceed to the exploration, research and permit application stages, but even then noted that PSPA would oppose the mine unless the developer can ensure that there will be no negative impacts to the region’s water quality or to Alaska’s fishery resources and their marketability.
Corporate members of PSPA include those with a major presence in Bristol Bay, including Peter Pan Seafoods and Trident Seafoods. The association also has several dozen associate members doing business in the seafood industry.