(Washington, D.C.) —Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after President Obama signed an order permanently protecting approximately 32.5 million acres in the North Aleutian Basin Planning Area, that includes Bristol Bay, from oil and gas leasing. 

“I applaud President Obama for taking this step today to permanently protect Bristol Bay from oil and gas development.  Bristol Bay is home to world-class salmon fisheries that our state relies on, and I am pleased that the Administration continues to take actions to protect Washington state’s fishing communities and an industry that supports thousands of local families, while contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to the regional economy.”

The Bristol Bay watershed is an area of exceptional ecological value with salmon productivity unrivaled anywhere in North America. The region’s habitat supports all five species of Pacific salmon found in North America: coho, chinook, sockeye, chum, and pink. These salmon populations are critical to the health of the entire ecosystem.

Bristol Bay supports commercial, subsistence, and recreational fishing industries that generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic yield each year while creating and sustaining thousands of jobs.