Northern Bering Sea Protected Area

Humpack whale mother and calf. Creative Commons: Glenn Edney

Oceans 5 supports the Bering Sea Elders Group in their work to protect the northern Bering Sea. The Bering Sea Elders Group comprised of tribal representatives designated by 40 tribal councils on the coast of the Bering Sea.

The northern Bering Sea and Bering Strait region is globally significant and ecologically rich. It is home to one of the largest seasonal marine migrations on the planet as animals take advantage of Arctic summer productivity. More than 60 federally recognized tribes in the region live a traditional way of life that is inextricably tied to this rich marine ecosystem. However, the rapid warming of the northern Bering Sea and the associated loss of sea ice threaten hunting and fishing opportunities and overall food security. The northern Bering Sea is now ice-free for longer periods than ever before, opening windows for more shipping, fishing and drilling.

The Bering Sea Elders Group seeks to build community resilience, mitigate the risks posed by climate change, and protect the traditional culture of this globally significant place. Decisions that affect the tribes of this region must be based on science, stewardship, and traditional knowledge and must be made in collaboration with the tribes of the Northern Bering Sea to ensure that their culture and way of life is protected.  Therefore, the Bering Sea Elders Group is seeking protection for the northern Bering Sea in a way that addresses the impacts of climate change, ensures food security, reinforces tribal self-determination, supports local economies, and achieve meaningful marine conservation.