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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the President after Visit with Fishermen -- Dillingham, Alaska

Kanakanak Beach
Dillingham, Alaska

12:34 P.M. AKDT

THE PRESIDENT:  So obviously we're thankful for the incredible display of fishing skill that has been built up over hundreds of years.  And all the folks here engage in subsistence fishery, which is part of the traditional way of life for so many here on Bristol Bay. 

Even though we’ve got a cloudy day, I think everybody has a sense of how beautiful this place is.  And the scale of fish that come through here is remarkable.  If you catch -- or if you've eaten wild salmon, it’s likely to have come from here.  And this has some of the biggest salmon runs, sockeye, in the world.  And it’s part of the reason why it’s so critical that we make sure that we protect this incredible natural resource, not just for the people whose livelihood depends on it, but for the entire country.  About 40 percent of the wild-caught seafood in America is caught right here on Bristol Bay. 

And it represents not just a critical way of life that has to be preserved, but it also represents one of the most important natural resources that the United States has.  This is one of the reasons why we have shut off oil and gas exploration in this region.  It is too fragile, and it is too important --

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  -- for us to be able to endanger it in any sort of way.  And this is something that obviously has strong support for the people whose livelihoods depend on it and for the people of Alaska. 

But there are other threats to this environment that we’ve always got to be alert to.  And hopefully by us coming here, we’re highlighting the need for us to keep this pristine and make sure that this is there for the children and grandchildren, great-grandchildren of all these wonderful fishermen.

So we very much appreciate it.  And by the way, that fish jerky, outstanding.  (Laughter.)  So I strongly recommend it.  You guys should get some samples before you get out of here.

Thank you, guys.

12:37 P.M. AKDT