Preserving Special Places: Alaska
Oceana works on multiple campaigns in Alaska to protect and preserve its diverse ocean ecosystems and marine life from the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea. The Last Frontier, Alaska is home to important and iconic marine animals from endangered bowhead whales and Steller sea lions to Chinook salmon and vibrant cold water corals. Oceana’s work in Alaska encourages the implementation of sustainable and ecosystem-based fisheries management principles to ensure Alaska’s oceans are productive and healthy.
With over 6,640 miles of coastline, Alaska is not only the largest state in the U.S. but also one of the most remote. Other than sharing a border with Canada’s Yukon and British Columbia territories, Alaska is completely surrounded by blue vistas of large, expansive and productive ocean. Alaska’s many diverse marine ecosystems are home to king and snow crab, Pacific halibut, otters, porpoises, puffins, polar bears, Steller sea lions, seals, Pacific walrus, beluga and humpback whales, and Chinook salmon, among many other species. With bountiful ocean resources, Alaska’s commercial fisheries land more seafood than any other state in the nation.
But not all of Alaska’s commercial fisheries are sustainable. Some incur an irresponsible and reckless amount of bycatch of unintentionally caught fish or marine mammal species while others, like industrial bottom trawling, directly harm important seafloor habitats. In addition to stress from large-scale fishing activities, the ocean ecosystems surrounding Alaska face threats from marine shipping, ocean pollutants, warming ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, offshore oil and gas activities, and other industrial actions.
Therefore Oceana’s work in Alaska to promote responsible fishing and enforce habitat and species protections is multifaceted. Our scientists and lawyers work closely with the state and federal fishery managers, local communities and Alaska Native tribes, other scientists and conservation partners, decision makers, and the public to push for sustainable and ecosystem-based management of Alaska’s public marine resources.
You can learn more about Oceana’s work to preserve healthy ocean ecosystems off Alaska by exploring these projects in more detail: