Posted on Fri, September 11, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
0 Comments | Categories: Biodiversity, Food Justice, News, Current Events, Seafood, Take Action,
by Biodiversity Intern Regina Fitzsimmons
Trout Unlimitedthe nations largest coldwater fisheries conservation organizationhas asked Slow Food Seattle and Seattle Chefs Collaborative to partner in a public awareness campaign to protect the wild Bristol Bay sockeye salmon. These three organizations are asking their neighbors and community members to Vote with their Fork. Trout Unlimited hopes that people will seek out and eat at restaurants that are serving wild Bristol Bay sockeye salmon on their menus and in so doing, support a sustainable food source that has renewed itself for the past 9,000 years that salmon have returned to Bristol Bay.
These fish need our protection now. Pebble Mine is attempting to set up new open pit mining operations (to the tune of $345-500 billion) at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, a territory prone to earthquakes. Pebble Mine wants to extract gold a non-renewable resource that could be mined 50 years before running out. (FYI, as you can read in our previous blog post from last January, the EPA ranks open pit mining as the most polluting industry in the nation.)
If Pebble Mine were able to set up camp on the banks of Bristol Bay, the development and pollution would be irreversibly harmful to the watershed and the 80 million wild salmon that migrate back to the Bay each year, not to mention the animals one notch up the food chain that depend on wild salmon for sustenance. Whats more, Bristol Bay is home to many people who also rely on the Bays fisheries for their income. If the sockeye faded off the world fishery stage, there would be an international crisis; Bristol Bay salmon make up 40% of the worlds sockeye salmon.
This summer Slow Food Seattle and the Seattle Chefs Collaborative chapter asked their chef and restaurateur members to participate by serving Bristol Bay sockeye at their businesses. Eleven restaurants have agreed to serve the Bristol Bay sockeye on their menus this summer and this list has been sent out to all the members of Slow Food Seattle, Seattle Chefs Collaborative and Trout Unlimited.
Recently, Trout Unlimited has expanded their outreach across the country. In mid-October they will be hosting a Bristol Bay salmon week on Capitol Hill. Trout Unlimited is working with Slow Food D.C. to engage D.C. chefs and educate diners about Bristol Bay salmon. So far, six restaurants are on board and Elizabeth Dubovsky, WhyWilds Program Director, is confident that this number will double in the upcoming months.
In the meantime, the Seattle chapter hopes that in these waning summer months, residents will pick up their forks and choose a sustainable, easy and delicious way to support wild salmon populations and the fishermen who catch them.