30 April 2005

Public Summary of the Second Annual Working Meeting

Forum sends statement to US and Russian Lawmakers asking for an International Agreement on Bering Sea Management. Read the Statement. Read statement in Russian.

29 July 2003

Press Advisory: Russian and U.S. Leaders Unite to Avert Collapse of Bering Sea Ecosystem

Marine experts from the U.S. and Russia are coming together to tackle the tough issues they say have been neglected by government agencies

(read complete press advisory)

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Statement of the International Bering Sea Forum

Regarding Bottom Trawling Activity in the Bering Sea



WHEREAS the Bering Sea, the third largest sea and a globally important habitat for marine life and an important fishery, is experiencing significant ecological changes that are of concern to many Bering Sea residents and scientists internationally; and


WHEREAS indigenous peoples and local communities in Russia and the United States are dependent upon the ecological wellbeing and the stability of resources in the Bering Sea for their health, quality of life, sustainable livelihoods and cultures; and


WHEREAS Russia and the United States are the two countries that exercise the greatest amount of sovereign jurisdiction over territorial areas of Bering Sea and are the most directly able to influence the management of the Bering Sea using their sovereign rights; and


WHEREAS reliable scientific evidence indicates that the current set levels of bottom trawling activity in the Bering Sea are harmful to marine life and that the intensity of trawling will impact future marine life and habitat due to long term significant damage to those habitats; and


WHEREAS the Forum understands that maximally sustainable fishing practices in the Bering Sea hold economic importance to Russia and the United States, to indigenous peoples, to local communities, and for the development of international trade; and


WHEREAS the Forum is aware that other historically important marine habitats and fisheries throughout the world have been "mismanaged" in that over-fishing and habitat damage led to dramatic declines in marine species populations as well as ecological and economic duress in human ecosystems dependent on the condition of marine life; and


WHEREAS the International Bering Sea Forum, comprised of individual citizen representatives from Russia and the United States, with expertise in marine conservation, science, governance, indigenous rights, and local & international community development, has considered and discussed opportunities and challenges relating to fisheries management in the Bering Sea;


NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the International Bering Sea Forum, hereby call on the U.S. and Russian governments through ongoing bilateral negotiations to agree to support further scientific research on bottom trawling in the Bering Sea, including identification and impacts on essential fish habitat, especially in regions accessed by indigenous groups for traditional natural resource use, and to develop a system of zoning in the Bering Sea that restricts bottom trawling in areas designated as "sensitive habitat"; and


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the International Bering Sea Forum calls upon governments for increased enforcement of existing regulations restricting the use of bottom trawling, which would require increased enforcement budgets to ensure that this occurs; and


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Forum calls for the development and signing of an improved intergovernmental agreement and active cooperation in the regulation and enforcement of bottom trawling restrictions nationally and internationally; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the International Bering Sea Forum will establish a "Fishing Gear Monitoring Committee" to follow up on the recommendations of this general statement and to further research the impact of present bottom trawling and other fishing gear regulations and practices as well as other regulatory policies that impact commercial fishing and fishing gear in both Russia and the United States. In addition, the Committee will seek opportunities for encouraging restriction, as necessary, of current bottom trawling practices based on scientific studies. The Forum acknowledges the essential role of the indigenous people of Alaska and Russia , welcomes the steps taken by those people with the goal of cooperation in the conservation and management of marine life in the Bering Sea region, and desires to ensure their full involvement in the implementation and enforcement of any agreement that is made.


AND FINALLY, BE IT UNDERSTOOD that the International Bering Sea Forum is a private, non-governmental entity, whose members serve as individual representatives and do not represent the organizations with which they are affiliated.

(Click here for list of references)