OBI Seafoods has donated $200,000 to an initiative to create conservation easements, which would block access for a transportation route needed for construction of a proposed copper, gold and molybdenum mine abutting the Bristol Bay watershed.
The Pedro Bay Rivers Project, a partnership of the Pedro Bay Corp., the Bristol Bay Native Corp., the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust and The Conservation Fund, is close to achieving its year-end goal of raising the $20 million needed for th3e conservation easements.
Mark Palmer, chief executive officer of OBI Seafoods, said making the contribution was an easy decision and that he hopes others in the seafood industry will join them in donating to the fund.
“Last summer’s record-breaking salmon run was a true testament to fishery management and the clean water that sustains it,” Palmer said. “It is crucial that we, as a seafood processor, safeguard this region, as it plays a vital role in the Alaska seafood industry as a whole.”
Other contributors to the effort to prevent mine owners from building the transportation route through Alaska Native lands include the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.
The multi-million-dollar fishery provides employment for several thousand harvesters, processor workers and others in the industry and is a major contributor to the Alaska economy.
OBI Seafoods was formed in 2020 via a merger of Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Icicle Seafoods, two of the oldest seafood processors in Alaska. The company operates 10 processing facilities in Alaska, and is a leading producer of fresh, frozen and canned Alaska seafood.