Commercial and sport fishing jobs would be jeopardized.
Commercial fishing brings in roughly 300-400 million dollars per year to Bristol Bay. Tens of thousands of sports fisherman travel to Bristol Bay each year. The revenue generated is vital not only to the economy of Bristol Bay but to the state of Alaska (Alaska’s fishing industry leads the nation in fish harvesting value and poundage, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development). Nearly 60% of Bristol Bay’s entire workforce is involved in the fishing industry. In 2009, its total workforce was over 9,000 and gross earnings of permit holders was over $133 million. Tourism and sport fishing are also important and growing industries for the region and for Alaska. The Bristol Bay Fishery has been awarded the title of a Sustainable Fishery. This means that biologists monitor the escapement in order for enough salmon to return to spawn each year before any fisherman is allowed to fish, in order that the fishery can continue in perpetuity.