For the past week, Greenpeace and a number of other environmental groups have been in Juneau, Alaska to urge the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to protect Alaska’s Bering Sea, a unique ecosystem currently threatened by a billion dollar fishing industry. Greenpeace also flew its thermal airship over Juneau with a 75-foot whale-themed banner urging Alaska residents to help protect the “Grand Canyons of the Sea.”
“The Bering Sea is home to one of the most remarkable places in the world, ‘the Grand Canyons of the Sea,’” Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Jackie Dragon said. “Tragically, this ecosystem is under threat from industrial fishing fleets that carve up the fragile corals and sponges on the sea floor.”
Dragon took nearly 80,000 petitions with her to the meeting asking for Bering Sea protection from the NPFMC.
Greenpeace is just one of many groups who have been asking the Council to protect the canyons from industrial fishing fleets. They’re coming together just as the NPFMC is preparing to decide the canyon’s fate this week. A review just published by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center concluded that the canyons likely contain over a third of the Bering Sea’s coral habitat, and they are at high risk of impact from industrial fishing.
“We’re here in Juneau at an exciting time,” Dragon said. “just as the North Pacific Fishery Management Council prepares to decide whether to protect America’s Grand Canyons of the Sea, or to keep the status quo. We hope they will consider the scientific research Greenpeace and others have conducted and do the right thing.”
The Greenpeace airship flew over Seattle to help celebrate the Bering Sea Canyons last month, which the local NBC station covered with photos and video.
See more photos below of the airship’s flight over Juneau!