Victory | December 9, 2016
Executive Order to create the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area in Alaska
President Obama issued an Executive Order creating the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area in Alaska. The order recognizes the importance of the region, increases local participation in management decisions, and helps protect the region from potential impacts associated with industrial activities like shipping, industrial fishing, and oil and gas leasing. Kawerak, Inc., the Bering Sea Elders Group and the Association of Village Council Presidents, which together represent more than 70 federally recognized tribes in the region, were instrumental in making this action possible. The Northern Bering Sea and Bering Strait region provides important habitat and is a migration corridor for thousands of bowhead and beluga whales, hundreds of thousands of walruses and ice seals and millions of migratory birds. The ocean ecosystem is critical to the food security and culture of the indigenous peoples of the region and is facing dramatic impacts from climate change and other industrial threats. In 2014, Oceana and Kawerak, Inc. published the Bering Strait Marine Life and Subsistence Use Data Synthesis, which brought together the available Indigenous knowledge and Western science on the region. The synthesis and other information about the Northern Bering Strait and Bering Sea region can be found here. This scientific information, along with our advocacy on freezing the footprint on bottom trawling, stopping the expansion of offshore oil and gas activities and protecting the Arctic from increased shipping helped inform President Obama’s action.