In 2010, the Obama administration recognized the incomparable fisheries and wildlife values of Bristol Bay by withdrawing the North Aleutian Basin from the oil and gas leasing process until 2017. Unfortunately, a future administration could roll back this protection and the Bay could again face the risks associated with offshore development. For thousands of fishermen and residents, the Bay’s sustainable fisheries are not worth these risks. In order to sharpen this discussion, World Wildlife Fund commissioned Portland-Based Ecotrust to define the cumulative value of Bristol Bay’s most important commercial fisheries.

The study quantifies ex-vessel, wholesale, processor, and retail values for the five fisheries the contribute 95% of the total landed value from the area potentially impacted by oil development. These fisheries include salmon, pollock, King crab, Pacific cod, and halibut. “Everyone knows that ex-vessel landings represent only the tip of the iceberg,” said WWF’s Dave Aplin. “Our study uses data from 2005 to 2008 to follow the fish from the net to the table. The study concludes that the total value of fish harvested in the study area at the final point of retail sale averaged $2.2-$2.9 billion dollars annually during 2005-2008 and supported $4.1-$5.4 billion annually in total economic activity.”