Thursday, June 20, 2013

Greenpeace Airship Flies Over Beautiful Juneau, Alaska to Protect the Bering Sea

Greenpeace's 105-foot thermal airship, A.E. Bates, flew over Juneau, Alaska while the North Pacific Fishery Management Council was meeting to decide whether or not to protect the world's largest underwater canyons in the Bering Sea.. The North Pacific Council is the governing body that decides how much fish is caught in Alaskan waters and what protection measures need to be taken.

Over a billion dollars of seafood - mostly pollock, but other species as well - is harvested in the Bering Sea each year. Zhemchug and Pribliof Canyons -- the largest underwater canyons in the world - are carved into the Green Belt zone along the shelf break where they fuel high productivity and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. Despite the ecological and economic importance of this stretch of ocean, the increasing threat of climate change, and the uncertainty involved in managing these fisheries, there are no areas protected from fishing along the entire shelf break. That must change. Given how little we understand about deep sea ecosystems or the connections between seafloor habitats and commercially important species, it is extremely risky not to set aside representative portions of the shelf break as a buffer against uncertainty.

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