Bristol Bay Salmon Week Celebrated Virtually

Posted on | Back to Posts

September 22, 2020

Bristol Bay Salmon Week Celebrated Virtually
BBNC brings together Bristol Bay supporters and presents Fish First awards to renowned chefs

Anchorage, AK – Last week, Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) and other Bristol Bay supporters virtually celebrated the fourth annual Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Celebration. Also known as Bristol Bay Salmon Week, the celebration featured interviews with Bristol Bay advocates, a panel featuring comments from the Alaska Congressional Delegation, a film screening, and a cooking workshop with Chef Tom Douglas. BBNC also recognized two culinary experts with this year’s Fish First awards – Tom Douglas Seattle Kitchen and Chef Tom Colicchio.

“Despite not being able to hold our typical reception in the nation’s capital, I’m excited that we were able to connect with supporters across the globe last week,” said Jason Metrokin, President and CEO of Bristol Bay Native Corporation. “With all the uncertainty that this year has brought, we wanted to recognize the unwavering importance of salmon to Bristol Bay’s cultures, subsistence way of life, and economy. We’re appreciative for all that our Fish First awardees, Tom Douglas Seattle Kitchen and Chef Tom Colicchio, have done to make that known and their continuing advocacy for Bristol Bay salmon.”

The Fish First awards honor those who have supported and championed wild Bristol Bay salmon. Chef Tom Douglas led a sockeye salmon cooking workshop as part of the virtual celebration, joined by special guest and fellow Fish First awardee Chef Tom Colicchio. Colicchio, known as the “citizen chef,” is the chef/owner of Crafted Hospitality and host of the hit show Top Chef.

Awardees are honored with a wooden carved fish featuring Bristol Bay imagery crafted by Bristol Bay artist Apay’uq Moore. Past Fish First honorees include Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives Bryce Edgmon, the Alaska Congressional Delegation, the late Senator Ted Stevens and his wife Catherine, the late Governor Jay and Bella Hammond, and the late Bristol Bay leaders Bobby Andrew and Harvey Samuelsen.

The week also included a Bristol Bay Voices Panel compiled of Bristol Bay leaders, with introductory comments by the Alaska Congressional Delegation. In their comments, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan again reiterated the importance of a rigorous permitting process for the Pebble mine, stating that the decision should rely on science rather than politics.

“After this very rigorous, very thorough process, the [Army Corps of Engineers] has found that the Pebble project as currently proposed does not meet that high bar. And I have said, if you don’t meet the high bar, then a permit should not be issued,” said Senator Murkowski.

“We know we have an incredible resource in the region already, which is the salmon resource, so you can’t trade one resource for another…we had to make sure that the agencies, and the federal government, the White House, everybody was listening to Alaskans,” said Senator Sullivan.

The virtual Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Celebration’s activities also included Instagram Live interviews with Chefs Douglas and Colicchio, Stefan Lessard of the Dave Matthews Band, and Colleen Vincent of the James Beard Foundation, and a live screening of Mark Titus’ award-winning film The Wild sponsored by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. For more information on the Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Celebration, visit


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