All around the world, our fisheries - and the ecosystems that support them - are in trouble. Even the deep and remote areas that once served as refuges from fishing are no longer havens; today the fish have no place to hide. Just as scary, is the impact of the fisheries on the other fish, marine mammals and sea birds that rely on these species for food. The Bering Sea is home to an amazing variety of wildlife, from whales and dolphins to ribbon seals and the walleye pollock they feed on. The explosive growth of the pollock fishery since the 1960s has been accompanied by steep declines of top predators in the pollock food web, including endangered steller sea lions, northern fur seals, pacific harbor seal. Steller sea lion populations in the Bering Sea and western Gulf of Alaska have dropped by about 80%. In parts of the Gulf of Alaska, harbor seal numbers have dropped by as much as 90%. Unfortunately, the needs of other species are not taken into account while setting catch limits on fisheries in Alaska.
These ecosystems are undergoing a series of radical changes, with no apparent end in sight. Take a moment to read about these amazing creatures, the unique ecosystems they survive in and the serious threats they are now facing.
Learn more about the wildlife of the Bering Sea: