FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2019
Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Celebrated in Washington, D.C.
BBNC celebrates Bristol Bay sockeye, honors its supporters in the nation’s capital
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) and other Bristol Bay partners once again celebrated–and served–wild Bristol Bay salmon in the nation’s capital with its third annual Bristol Bay Wild Salmon celebration. The Alaska Congressional Delegation, BBNC board members and staff, and other dignitaries and supporters of Bristol Bay salmon gathered on Wednesday evening just north of the Capitol complex. BBNC also recognized two Alaska leaders with Fish First awards – Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives Bryce Edgmon and Ekwok Tribal Council President Luki Akelkok.
“Whether it’s in Dillingham or the District of Columbia, Bristol Bay salmon are a fish worth celebrating,” said Jason Metrokin, President and CEO of Bristol Bay Native Corporation. “It’s a privilege to once again bring a taste of Bristol Bay to the nation’s capital and honor those who have contributed to the success of this incredible sustainable resource. 2019 was another robust year for Bristol Bay sockeye, and with leaders like Speaker Edgmon and Luki Akelkok, these fish will continue to be central to our Alaska Native way of life.”
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Dan Sullivan, and Representative Don Young all spoke at the event. Speaker Edgmon accepted the award in-person, and Nelda Dodge accepted on behalf of her father, Luki Akelkok, who addressed the crowd via video.
The Fish First awards honor those who have supported and championed wild Bristol Bay salmon. Awardees are honored with a handcrafted basket made from salmon and trout skin created by Bristol Bay resident Marlene Nielsen. Past Fish First honorees include the Alaska Congressional Delegation, the late Senator Ted Stevens and his wife Catherine, the late Governor Jay Hammond and his wife Bella, and the late Bristol Bay leaders Bobby Andrew and Harvey Samuelsen.
The celebration occurred during Bristol Bay Salmon Week, where 26 restaurants in Washington, D.C. and Wegmans grocery stores in Virginia and Maryland are featuring wild Bristol Bay sockeye on their menus. The restaurants are diverse in their fares and each is taking a unique approach to preparing Bristol Bay sockeye. One of the participating restaurants is Mitsitam Café located within the National Museum of the American Indian, which is using traditional Alaska Native recipes for two of its dishes. Highlights of the salmon celebration and Bristol Bay Salmon Week on social media can be tracked using the hashtag #BristolBaySalmonWeek. Bristol Bay Salmon Week is sponsored by Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA).
The 2019 Bristol Bay fishing season was another tremendous success, with a near-record 43 million sockeye harvested in Bristol Bay and more than 56 million fish returning to Bristol Bay’s rivers. In addition to supporting a billion-dollar commercial and sportfishing economy and thousands of jobs, Bristol Bay sockeye are central to a subsistence lifestyle practiced by many Alaska Natives in the Bristol Bay region.
About Bristol Bay Native Corporation: Bristol Bay Native Corporation is a responsible Alaska Native investment corporation dedicated to the mission of “Enriching Our Native Way of Life.” Established through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, BBNC works to protect the land in Bristol Bay, celebrate the legacy of its people, and enhance the lives of its shareholders. Learn more at bbnc.net.