Located in the North Pacific between Alaska and far east Russia, the Bering Sea is home to ocean albatross and kittiwakes, orcas, walrus and fur seals, king crab, squid, and salmon. Beneath the surface are massive canyons where deep sea corals thrive and support a near endless variety of life. But the Bering Sea’s beautiful and carefully-balanced marine environments are in danger, threatened by industrial fishing that is depleting the region’s resources and risking destruction of this Hope Spot. Mission Blue and Greenpeace are both urging the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to protect these canyons.
We can protect this ecosystem for future generations through the creation of Marine Protected Areas – including fully protected marine reserves – that restrict fishing gear that damages vital habitat.
Over a billion dollars of seafood - mostly pollock, but other species as well - is harvested in the Bering Sea each year. Zhemchug and Pribliof Canyons – the largest underwater canyons in the world - are carved into the Green Belt zone along the shelf break where they fuel high productivity and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. Despite the ecological and economic importance of this stretch of ocean, the increasing threat of climate change, and the uncertainty involved in managing these fisheries, there are no areas protected from fishing along the entire shelf break. That must change. Given how little we understand about deep sea ecosystems or the connections between seafloor habitats and commercially important species, it is extremely risky not to set aside representative portions of the shelf break as a buffer against uncertainty.
Marine Conservation Institute and the Waitt Foundation provide this
interactive tool to help users visualize the locations and coverage of global
marine protected areas (MPA). This atlas provides information on over 8000 MPAs
globally, drawing on datasets from the
World Database on Protected Areas1,
US MPA Center2,
and other country- and regional-level data authorities, as well as research
conducted by the Marine Conservation Institute.
In addition to MPA boundaries and site management information, this dataset
contains information on conservation measures with a particular focus on those
restricting the exploitation of marine life.
Features on this site are designed to allow users to understand (1) where current
protection exists and at what level, and (2), where important areas for future protection
are and any processes underway to establish MPAs. This provides vital information to
countries and their citizens interested in ocean conservation, management and stewardship.
The dataset is constantly being updated and we welcome visitors to the site to provide
feedback and update content by creating a member account on MPAtlas today.