BRISTOL BAY FISHERMEN PROTEST LOW SALMON PRICES

Bristol Bay was open to salmon fishing July 1, but a majority of the fishermen kept their nets out of the water to protest low prices in the world's largest red salmon fishery.Roughly 85 to 90 percent of Bristol Bay salmon fishermen abstained from fishing although the state complied with a court order to open the fishery. The fishermen are demanding $1 per pound for red salmon, a price processors have paid or exceeded in recent years. This year, processors offered 50 cents per pound, citing a world glut of salmon. Gov. Walter Hickel closed Bristol Bay to fishing June 26 in a move to avert violence between striking and nonstriking fishermen. In response, some fishermen and a processor filed suit, saying the governor overstepped his authority. A state judge June 28 overruled Hickel's executive order and said the fishery had to open unless there was a biological reason to close it. Last year Bristol Bay fishermen earned $200 million. The intense fishing period during the brief salmon run fuels a $1 billion fishing economy.

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