A delegation of Alaskan fishermen and native Alaskans are heading to London to protest against the development of a mine they claim will damage the native Sockeye salmon population and squeeze the UK’s wild salmon supplies.
Mining company Anglo American and mineral explorers Northern Dynasty Minerals plan to develop a copper and gold mine close to the Bristol Bay salmon fishery in Alaska.
The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which represents Alaskan fishermen, and leaders of Alaska’s indigenous Yupik community, which relies heavily on wild salmon for food, will attend Anglo American’s annual general meeting on 19 April in a bid to stop the development.
They contend that the mine would deposit waste in prime salmon habitat jeopardising the wild salmon population and the estimated £27.2m ($43m) of canned Sockeye annually exported to the UK.
“The science demonstrates that large-scale mining and wild salmon don’t mix, and we’re not willing to put this resource at risk,” said BBRSDA executive director Bob Waldrop.
However, Anglo American insisted that fish and mining could happily co-exist. The Fraser river, the site of another Anglo American project, had “a record salmon run of 34 million in 2010” despite intensive industrial activity, including large-scale copper mining, claimed a spokesman.
Alaskan Sockeye is sold in the UK in tinned and frozen form.