Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN-SPR 2018

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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72 | www.GuyHarveyMagazine.com L ocated in Southwest Alaska, on the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay's 40,000-square-mile watershed is comprised of nine rivers, numerous lakes, streams and ponds, and thousands of acres of wetlands. Boasting five different ecosystems—marine, river, tundra, boreal forest and lake—it's one of the most diverse and prolific environments in North America. Home to the world's largest wild sockeye salmon fishery, this single region provides nearly half of the entire global consumption of wild sockeye salmon each year. Every species of Pacific salmon (and another 24 species of fish, 190 birds, 40 terrestrial animals) rely on the healthy ecology of the Bristol Bay watershed for their survival. From the tiniest mud worm to the largest grizzly, every creature, including man, could not survive without the salmon that make their way to Bristol Bay each summer. And it's not just commercial fishing that thrives. The subsistent harvest supports thousands of native Alaskan tribesmen, women and children. Bristol Bay boasts one of the largest sportfishing economies in the state, bringing in thousands of anglers each year to try their luck flyfishing or spin casting for sockeye, king, coho and chum salmon, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, grayling and northern pike. Ask just about any fisherman you know, and I bet they'd tell you that the opportunity to fish these pristine waters at least once in a lifetime is high on their bucket list. For thousands of years, Bristol Bay has remained virtually unchanged. But that could change…in a big way. While most consider the salmon industry in Bristol Bay an axiomatic gold mine, it is the gold that lies beneath that threatens the future of what lies above. Alaska has a rich history and robust economy from fishing and tourism, but it's no secret that a large portion of its economy has been driven by oil drilling and mining. Mining represents the fifth largest industry behind petroleum, government, fishing and tourism. These rich, natural resources of oil, minerals, forests, and fish, and the continual choice to preserve and protect, or to extract and exploit has created clashes among Alaskans. But one such conflict has done just the opposite—the proposed Pebble Mine. Brown bears prepare for winter by gorging themselves on sockeye salmon at the base of Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park. Photo by Matt Luck.

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