Alaska’s biggest wild salmon run at risk

Bristol Bay is a rare, pristine fishery, the largest source of wild salmon in the world, but a new story published by FERN in collaboration with The Nation says it faces a dual threat – from a rapidly changing climate and a massive, Trump-backed mine. The story, by Alaskan journalist Julia …

Catch shares lead to consolidation of Alaskan fisheries

A recent study documenting consolidation and specialization in Alaska’s fisheries over the past three decades illustrates a broader trend taking hold in coastal communities across the country. Catch share programs, a new fisheries management system, are turning fishing rights into tradable commodities, driving up the cost to fish and consolidating fishing rights into the hands of a few wealthy owners. For instance, in Alaska’s Bering Sea crab fishery, just four companies own 77 percent of the rights to fish a single crab species.

GE salmon cleared for U.S. dinner plates

More than three years after the FDA approved, for the first time, a genetically engineered animal as safe to eat, the government opened the door for AquaBounty Technologies to grow and sell its GE salmon in the United States. A biotech trade group said the fish, which developers say grows twice as fast as as conventional Atlantic salmon on 25-percent less feed, will "contribute to a more sustainable food supply."

Pebble Mine and Alaskan salmon face day of reckoning

The on-again, off-again Pebble Mine venture in Alaska is facing a day of reckoning, with the future of the nation’s largest salmon run, which can exceed 40 million fish, hanging in the balance, according to FERN’s latest story by Paul Greenberg, in collaboration with Mother Jones. Both sport and commercial fishermen depend on the Bristol Bay fishery, valued at more than half a billion dollars, and for years they have been fighting a proposed mining venture that would develop a deposit containing billions of tons of copper, gold, and molybdenum in the same headwaters where all those salmon get their start.

EPA ‘ready’ to work with Alaska gold mine but retains Obama-era doubts

After more than 1 million public comments, the EPA said it will not dismiss an Obama-era conclusion that the proposed Pebble gold mine in southwestern Alaska could cause "significant and irreversible harm" to the Bristol Bay watershed, reported the Washington Post. Instead, the EPA said it will seek additional comments and that its decision "neither deters nor derails the application process" for the mine. Opponents worry the mine could ruin the Bristol Bay fishery, the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world.

Women in developing countries at high-risk for mercury in diet

Around the world, low-income women are exposed to high amounts of mercury, thanks to mining and marine-based diets, says a report from IPEN, a nonprofit focused on global health and toxic chemicals, and Biodiversity Research Institute, an ecology research organization. Of the 1,0444 women …

Alaska salmon plants hurt by labor shortage

Even as Alaska experienced a banner year for sockeye salmon, some commercial fishermen had to stop hauling in the fish because there weren’t enough workers to process them.

Interior Dept. investigating Zinke’s healthcare calls

The Interior Department's Office of Inspector General is undertaking a preliminary investigation into phone calls made by Secretary Ryan Zinke to Alaska’s Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, warning them that that they could lose their standing with the Trump administration in light of Murkowski’s vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act.

The big splash on Alaska tideland? Kelp farming.

Applicants are asking Alaska's Department of Natural Resources for permission to begin hundreds of acres of kelp farming on the state's tidelands, reports Alaska Public Media. Last year, the state got requests to lease around 18 acres for various types of mariculture; this year, kelp farming would occupy two-thirds of the 1,000 acres of lease requests.

Multiple studies say rate of sea level rise is growing

At least the third study in a year has found that the rate of sea level rise is increasing. A recent report in Nature Climate Change said that the rate of sea level rise had grown from 2.2 millimeters per year in 1993 to a 3.3-millimeter annual rise in 2014.