A local fishing apparel company in Cache Valley, Home Waters Co., is selling merchandise to save Bristol Bay — a watershed that is considered to be a wild salmon powerhouse in southwest Alaska that is said to be at risk to Pebble Mining proposals and large-scale hard rock mining on adjacent public land.
One of the biggest and last running salmon runs in the world, according to Home Water’s website, Bristol Bay sees several million sockeye salmon a year. The Save Bristol Bay campaign opposes mining proposals due to the effects the mines would have on the fish, jobs in the surrounding area, recreation, and the culture in southeast Alaska.
Home Waters Co., founded by 21-year-old Hunter Evans last November, sells shirts with a variety of different fish on them. As an artist, Evans has hand drawn all of the designs printed on the T-shirts. Evans also sells stickers of the featured fish.
Growing up, Evans established an affinity for fish and fishing because he was raised on the sport. Evans said his parents often went fly fishing, which helped cultivate his passion for fishing, conservation and art.
When Evans started Home Waters Co., he wanted to make sure his company incorporated aspects of conservation. This led him to team up with Save Bristol Bay.
“I had seen some of the great things they had done in the past, and I thought they linked up super well with what I was going for,” Evans said.
After joining up with the campaign on March 15, Evans designed a shirt featuring a sockeye salmon with 25 percent of the proceeds from the shirt going to Save Bristol Bay.
When purchasing the shirt, the website includes information about why these fish are important. According to Home Waters Co., sockeye salmon are an influential fish.
“Every year these incredible animals gather together in the millions to run from the ocean to their home streams where they were born to spawn,” the website reads. “These runs influence jobs, world class fishing, and even the very culture of the areas they occur in. This fish needs to be protected!”