Bering Sea Ecosystem—A Call to Action: An Interagency Collaborative White Paper

Bering Sea Ecosystem—A Call to Action: An Interagency Collaborative White Paper

Steven Pennoyer, Frank Rue, and Deborah Williams

Bering Sea Ecosystem—A Call to Action: An Interagency Collaborative White PaperThis is part of Ecosystem Approaches for Fisheries Management
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Description

The Bering Sea is one of the most productive large marine ecosystems in the world. This vast area, almost 2.6 million square kilometers, is located prominently between Alaska and Russia and supports more than 450 species of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks; 50 species of seabirds; and 25 species of marine mammals. The breeding seabird population of 25 million represents 43% of breeding seabirds in the United States. It provides a world class fishery; the pristine waters contribute 56% of the U.S. fishery production. The total landed value of the catch was one billion dollars in 1997. In recent years the Bering Sea ecosystem has been showing signs of stress. Both marine mammals and seabirds are experiencing population declines. Scientists' knowledge of the various relationships in the ecosystem is limited. Managers need vital and complex information to properly carry out their responsibilities in future years. The ecosystem demands a long-term commitment to assure its protection. It is an extremely valuable treasure of the United States. A showcase ecosystem of the United States and the world, its long-term protection will require comprehensive and coordinated research.

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