by Maireid Sullivan
| December 5, 2008 at 04:22 pm
609 views | 26 Recommendations | 3 comments
Let us not stand by, witnessing the massive collapse of the Bering Sea ecosystem. It would be like doing nothing when you discover you have lymph cancer! The earth is our body - our habitat, and when part of it fails due to human exploitation, all of us suffer.
When Canadian policy makers ignored the warning signs about declining cod populations, the resulting collapse put 40,000 fishermen out of work and caused far-reaching changes to the ecology of the northwest Atlantic. Today, the same thing appears to be happening in Alaska, where millions of pounds of pollock are being taken from the sea by factory trawlers each year. Because of pollock's importance as food for everything from endangered Steller sea lions to humpback whales, the recent declines in pollock populations are causing many animals to go hungry.
It's not too late to prevent the collapse of pollock stocks, and to avert disaster for fishing communities as well as the Bering Sea ecosystem - and YOU can help.
Tell the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to regulate factory trawlers and mandate that amount of pollock caught in 2009 must be cut in half and marine reserves must be established to protect critical habitats.
Letter from Greenpeace oceans campaigner, John Hocevar.
Last year I visited a stunning fur seal rookery on the Pribilof Islands - only to learn now that dead baby fur seals are washing ashore on the beaches, most likely due to starvation. These islands in Alaska's Bering Sea are also the home to the world's most abundant food fish - Alaskan Pollock.
The fur seals' food, pollock, is being vacuumed away by massive industrial fishing ships, and wildlife is starving as a result. Steller sea lions, are being forced to spend more energy foraging to take in fewer calories, and their birth rates and youth survival rates have declined.
For years, Greenpeace has warned that industrial fishing would destroy this fragile environment, but the fisheries managers have buckled under pressure from industry. As a Greenpeace ocean campaigner, I've personally been ridiculed and insulted for these warnings.
I wish more than anything that I had been wrong. But now we know that the pollock population is on the brink of collapse, and along with it the survival of marine creatures that depend on pollock.
Will you help me prevent a disaster in the Bering Sea? Click here to make a generous donation today.
We may be witnessing the massive collapse of the Bering Sea ecosystem. But with your help, we might be able to help stop it. I've seen the Bering Sea at 1,600 feet deep, as one of the first people to ever pilot a submarine into some of the world's largest underwater canyons. I've seen the wonders of the Sea, such as humpback and blue whales, orcas and fur seals, endangered Steller sea lions, sea otters, walrus and dolphins… these are the animals who call the Bering Sea home and who depend on the Pollock. For now.
This week, we released a new TV ad highlighting the impact a fishery collapse would have on local fishermen and their communities in Alaska. To turn the heat up on the government, we're running the ad in Alaska and Seattle on the eve of a vote by fisheries managers responsible for determining the amount of pollock that will be caught in 2009. They must put the ecosystem first, and approve a sustainable fishery management plan or there will be no pollock for fisherman and wildlife alike.
Please, support our efforts to protect the Bering Sea and all those who depend on it for survival. We can't do it without YOU.