Alaska’s Bristol Bay and southeast Bering Sea waters encompass one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world, yet pressure to drill for offshore oil and gas has remained a constant threat for decades.
Offshore drilling amid the region’s rich waters would threaten an area that produces 40% of the nation’s wild fish catch as well as resources of cultural importance. Jobs, livelihoods, Alaska Native traditions and communities would be at risk.
The region’s sub-arctic waters support:
- The world’s largest wild sockeye salmon runs.
- Significant commercial fisheries worth more than $2 billion annually.
- Alaska Native cultures traditionally reliant on salmon and other marine resources.
- Globally important migratory seabird and marine mammal populations, and sensitive coastal habitats.
The fate of Bristol Bay has been uncertain since pressure to develop the region for offshore oil and gas drilling began in the early 1980s. Over the years, leases have been sold and bought back, and presidential and congressional protections have come and gone. Through the region’s long history of leasing, buybacks and protections won and lost, Bristol Bay has been spared from offshore development, but just barely.
AMCC has successfully worked hand-in-hand with local communities, tribes, members of the seafood industry and conservation groups to bring the economic, ecological, and cultural value of Bristol Bay to national awareness. Bristol Bay is a national treasure. Its world-class fisheries’ and coastal communities’ connections to marine resources are too valuable to risk for potential short-term benefits of offshore drilling.
In 2010, President Obama cancelled a pending lease sale for 2011 and announced that Bristol Bay would be protected from offshore oil and gas development until 2017.
While the region’s rich waters now have temporary protection from offshore drilling, a lasting solution is needed for Bristol Bay and the southeast Bering Sea.
Now is the time to finally protect Bristol Bay and southeast Bering Sea waters from offshore drilling – once and for all. Please join with us to secure Bristol Bay’s permanent protection from offshore oil and gas development.