Protect the Grand Canyon of the Sea

It's Not Too Late!

Greetings From: The Bering Sea

Alaska’s Bering Sea is home to one of the most remarkable places in the world, an area so rich with life scientists call it ‘the Green Belt.’ Here, the ‘Grand Canyons of the Sea’ support an extraordinary ecosystem that includes fish, crab, skates, endangered sea lions, orcas, and humpback whales, but it all starts with the fragile corals and sponges on the sea floor.

Tragically, this amazing ecosystem is under serious threat from industrial fishing fleets that carve up the corals and sponges with their trawl nets. Bottom-tending fishing gear--especially trawl nets--destroys fragile corals and sponges that provide essential habitat, including spawning and nursery areas for fish, crab, and other marine species.”

Despite repeated requests from conservationists to protect this canyon habitat from fishing impacts, the governing body responsible for the Grand Canyons of the Sea, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, has so far taken no action to curb fishing here or conserve this vital Green Belt ecosystem. The council has blamed its past inaction on a lack of scientific evidence, so Greenpeace has twice gone to the canyons with state of the art submarines equipped with high definition video cameras to bring back the science the council has asked for.

The council is expected to decide how it will proceed in a vote this June.

This will be the year the council decides either to consider the science and create a pathway to protect the canyons, or to ignore the science and continue the destruction.

The Bering Sea

The Bering Sea is one of the wildest regions in the world and the source of over half the seafood caught in the United States. Spanning more than 770,000 square miles between western Alaska and Russia's Siberian coast, these rich waters gave rise to the native Alaskan communities throughout the region, some of which date back 10,000 years.

Although Alaska's billion-dollar fishing industry is one of the most closely monitored in the world, there are serious causes for concern. The poster child of U.S. fisheries management is in need of a major makeover if we want to ensure Bering Sea fish and fishing for future generations. Excessive fishing is threatening the food supply for marine mammals and birds as well the Native communities and small-boat fishermen who depend on a healthy marine ecosystem for their survival. Fragile coral and sponge habitat, essential for fish and other marine life, is being destroyed by unregulated fishing gear.

Public stakeholders, Tribal groups and governments, and seafood businesses have come together to demonstrate their shared interest in protecting the "Bering Sea Gold" that belongs to us all.

What Is Trawling and It's Side Effects

According to the National Academy of Sciences, fishing boats that trawl on the bottom destroy important seafloor habitat, decimating corals, sponges and other sensitive areas. Many of these seafloor animals and habitat areas can take centuries to recover, if they recover at all. "Bottom trawling has devastating impacts on important seafloor habitats and compromises the resilience of an ecosystem," said Jon Warrenchuk, Ocean Scientist with Oceana. "Todays decisions protect the wildlife and important seafloor habitats of the northern Bering Sea from future damage from trawling."
William Shatner Asks YOU to Save Kipper & Protect the Bering Sea

New Video: Featuring the Voice of William Shatner

In Washington D.C. on April 3, 2013, Greenpeace asked for the North Pacific Marine Fisheries Council to protect the Bering Sea canyons from industrial fishing.


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