"SALMON: Battle for Bristol Bay, a Resource Struggle for the Ages"

Can southwest Alaska make money from its rich mineral deposits without destroying the Bristol Bay fishery that is currently an economic mainstay?

"DILLINGHAM, Alaska -- On a chilly day in late September, fishing boats were docked by the dozens in this remote town on Bristol Bay. Come wintertime, many would rest on blocks in people's yards.

The boats sit waiting for the rush of the summertime, when Dillingham's population of 2,300 will double. Fishermen come from across the region to make their living, just like the settlers who flooded Alaska just over a century ago in search of gold and the salmon that earned the nickname 'money fish.'

The salmon catch still sustains these towns, but today they face a new test. Because of a plan to dig a massive copper, gold and molybdenum mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, people here are grappling with a question they would rather not ask: Can southwest Alaska make money from its wealth of minerals without doing harm to the money fish?"

Gabriel Nelson reports for Greenwire December 21, 2011.

Source: Greenwire, 12/22/2011