© WWF России
© WWF России

The natural wealth of the Bering Sea

A vast and stormy sea is between Russia and Alaska. It is so rich in living organisms and different coastal and deepwater habitats, that it is considered one of the most biologically productive and diverse marine ecosystems in the world. Covering an area of nearly a million square miles of arctic and subarctic waters the Bering sea provides the conditions for live to great fish populations, crustaceans, mollusks, birds from all over the continents of the World, as well as to numerous whales, dolphins, walruses, seals and polar bears.

Here thousands of flocks of sea birds lifted suddenly into the air from the rookeries located on the cliffs, while down along the edge of the continental shelf 30-meters blue whales are fed, consuming several tons of plankton a day. Huge schools of salmon, shoals of Alaska Pollock and generations of long-lived halibut are fed in productive waters of the Bering Sea. Little Arctic foxes go following the majestic polar bears, walking hundreds of kilometers in polar ices, though severe winter storms and hurricane force winds. Nearly a million of seals, have spent in the sea from eight months to two years, overcome thousands miles of ocean waters on the way to the islands of the Bering Sea, to the rookeries where they have been born.

The Bering Sea is limited to the coasts of two continents. It is one of the largest semi-enclosed seas. More than 450 species of fishes, crustaceans and mollusks, more than 200 species of bird and 26 species of marine mammals inhabit this northern extension of the Pacific Ocean.

The Bering Sea has the world environmental, economic and cultural importance. For centuries the wild animals, people prospered in its productive marine and coastal habitats. Today thousands of indigenous people including Aleuts, Chukchi, Kypiks, Inupiaks, Koryaks, Kamchadals, Itelmens and Ypiks continue their traditional fishing and hunting on the sea and its coasts. The Bering Sea provides more than 50% of the annual fish production of both the USA and about 30% of Russia.

The text is taken from the publication written by Sumner MacLiesh “The Bering Sea: a Call to Action in marine Conservation” edited by Dave Klein and Margaret Wiliams.