Time is Running Out on the Grand Canyons of the Bering Sea

by George Pletnikoff

February 4, 2013

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

Fur Seals on St. George Island in the Bering Sea

On February 5 in Portland, Oregon the fishery honchos holding the fate of the Bering Sea canyons in their hands will get their first look at the scientific evidence Greenpeace has gathered from its submarine expeditions into the amazing Grand Canyons of the Sea.

These remarkable, life-rich canyons are under serious threat from industrial fishing fleets whose massive trawling operations rip this delicate ecosystem apart from the seafloor up. Greenpeace has been working night and day to protect these canyons, and now, after years of work, two submarine research expeditions, multiple scientific publications, and support from an unprecedented alliance of indigenous stakeholders, environmental groups, scientists, and even seafood businesses, its all coming to a head in June.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet then in Juneau, Alaska to consider a review of the available science. Given the strength of the scientific case for protecting the canyons, and the strong support for action, we expect that the councilwill begin developing management and conservation options for the canyons based on the science. It is possible, though, that short-sightedness will win out and they will decide to kill the proposal outright.If they kill the idea, they will take a massive step toward killing the canyons and the life they hold. We cant let that happen.

The situation is dire. But we have four months to convince the masters of the canyons fate to do their duty and protect the canyons. With your support, we can show them that this:

should not come at the expense of this:

Humpback Whales in Gulf of Alaska during Greenpeace's Bering Sea expedition.

Please join us and many of our people in the Tribal Communities in Alaska in telling the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to protect the Bering Sea Canyons this June.

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