We are All Bering Sea Stakeholders, pt. 2

by Amber Smith

February 3, 2014

Young male Northern Fur Seals (Callorhinus ursinus) frolick in the waters off the island of St. George in the Bering Sea. The Pribilof islands are a protected breeding ground for the fur seals and a prime birdwatching attraction. Greenpeace is campaigning to save the Arctic from attempts by oil companies to exploit the regions resources for short term profit.

© Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace

This week, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council will meet in Seattle for the first time in almost two years. To prepare for their arrival, activists in Seattle have been preparing public comment to express concern about the preservation of the habitat in the Bering Sea Canyons. Following our last post in which Adam Arroyo expressed his need to protect the canyons, below you will find Hsiang-Yuan Wus reasons for standing up for the Bering Sea Canyons.

My name is Hsiang-Yuan Wu, and Im from Taiwan.

Two years ago, I came to this beautiful city studying at UW, however, the most important lesson I have learned, not from the campus, but was learned from living in Seattle. We should make the environment sustainable.

During the past two years, Ive seen people in Seattle working so hard in doing recycling, respecting the natural scenery and striving to stand up to protect the environment. One of the famous cases was saving salmon. As the spiritual and cultural the symbol of Washington State, urban development and industrial pollution has damaged the habitat of salmons. To ensure salmon would live in a better environment, King County developed a salmon recovery plan, and governmental sectors and environmental organizations provided guild books to teach people how to protect salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

Salmon Friendly Seattle is one of the greatest memories to happen for a Seattleite. Today, following in that great tradition of protecting the environment, we have an obligation to present the serious situation happening in the Bering Sea.

The Bering Sea is one of the most valuable large marine ecosystems in the world, however, the habitats of fish in the Bering Sea are being damaged by commercial fishing practices. Unregulated, destructive fishing gear damages precious coral and sponge habitat in the Bering Sea Canyons.

The greatest change can come from a simple idea. If I, a Taiwanese, care about the future of the ecosystem in the Bering Sea, everyone whose lives have a connection with this area should care more than I do. To avoid a long-term ecological crisis, we sincerely suggest the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the people who have the power, stand up to save the habitat in the Bering Sea Canyons, and ensure Bering Sea fish for many generations to come. As Chief Seattle said:

The shining water that moves in streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. The rivers of our brothers they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes and feed our children.

The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council will hold discussions this week, February 3-10 at the Madison Renaissance Hotel in downtown Seattle. If you would like to participate in the discussion, please contact organizer Amber Smith at amber.smith@greenpeace.org.

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