Fast Facts About Bristol Bay

  • The area of Bristol Bay permanently protected from future oil and gas leasing is 52,234 square miles and is referred to by Department of the Interior as the North Aleutian Basin.
  • Congress or the president has extended temporary but impermanent protection to Bristol Bay for decades.
  • 50 federally-recognized tribes and regional native organizations and 20 seafood industry businesses and associations have called publicly for permanent protection for Bristol Bay.
  • Oil and gas resources in Bristol Bay, if developed, were estimated to contribute $7.7 billion total over the 25 to 40 years of production.
  • Fisheries in the southeast Bering Sea, which includes Bristol Bay, bring in an average of $2.5 billion a year and provides an average of 40 percent of the US wild seafood catch.
  • Projections for the region’s fisheries are historically high for 2015, including for the world’s largest run of sockeye salmon and pollock in the southeastern Bering Sea.
  • Bristol Bay and the southeastern Bering Sea provide habitat for globally significant congregations of seabirds and waterfowl, as well as cetacean and pinniped species
  • The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953 outlines federal responsibility over submerged lands of the outer continental shelf, and provides authority for the President’s withdrawal of lands.
  • Bristol Bay’s protection honors the legacy of the late Harvey Samuelsen, a Yup’ik commercial and subsistence fisherman, World War II veteran, Alaska Native corporation leader,  and champion of Alaska Native fishing rights and Bristol Bay’s sustainable fisheries.
  • Two previous Presidents have used OCSLA to permanently withdraw particularly valuable marine habitats from oil and gas development: in 1960, President Eisenhower withdrew an area off Key Largo, Florida, and in 1969 President Nixon withdrew an area off Santa Barbara, California.
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