EDITOR, Daily News:

I was born in Wrangell in 1949, at the mouth of one of Southeast Alaska’s most productive salmon rivers — the Stikine. I lived in Ketchikan in the early ‘50s, and have fished extensively out of Ketchikan for hatchery chums since 2003. In my career as a commercial fisherman, I’ve seen a  lot of changes. Historically, 80% of the king salmon that return to Southeast Alaska are born in the Stikine, Taku and Unuk transboundary rivers. As Southeast fishermen know, the king salmon stocks so important to our business, recreation and subsistence are declining. The Unuk was listed as a stock of concern in 2017, and the Taku and Stikine are likely to be soon.

Meanwhile, just upstream of Alaska, British Columbia is pushing through a huge number of large open-pit and acid-generating mines, most with massive waste dams, rivaling the size of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. Alaskans have no real say in these mines that could impact our way of life, despite the fact that a 1909 U.S.-Canada treaty is supposed to protect indigenous people and fisheries interests in both Canada and the United States.

Southeast fishermen, municipalities and tribes have been raising concerns regarding British Columbia’s below-par mineral development laws and mining practices for more than a decade., without much response from British Columbia. Fishermen, tribes and communities in Southeast Alaska are renewing their concerns with resolutions calling on President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to effectively call for a “time out.” The resolutions also call for a ban on British Columbia’s mine-waste dams, which are disasters like Mt. Polley waiting to happen.

This fall, the Sitka City & Borough Assembly unanimously passed such a resolution. I live in Sitka. I testified in support of it, and I hope other municipalities and tribes will continue to support the significants asks within the resolution as Sitka did. The importance of this resolution is not to me or my generation — it’s for future generations of fishermen and people of Southeast Alaska. I am 72 years old, and it’s likely going to take a decade or more to rebuild these king salmon runs. I may not be able to see the benefits during my career, bu it’s my hope that future generations will.

Alaskans from across the spectrum have called on B.C. Premier John Horgan to listen to Alaskans’ concerns. When we do, we’re frequently met with silence, with talking points that come from B.C.’s mining industry, or sometimes, with responses from corporate PR people within the mining industry itself. Talking points and spin aren’t enough. We need action to protect king salmon, and the people and ecosystems that depend on them.

I urge Ketchikan to join other Southeast communities, tribal groups and commercial fishermen to support the future of our king salmon by supporting a resolution to address the transboundary mining issue.