ABSI is pleased to announce that GIS data layers for this project are now available for download through the SNAP data portal. Marine vessel traffic are represented as line features depicting unique voyages within and through the ABSI region, derived from a three-year archive of satellite-based Automatic Identification System (AIS) locations from July 2010 to August 2013. This project is a colloration between ABSI, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP).
The data set also includes the increasingly-used shipping routes through the Bering Strait. We created several animated GIF files depicting seasonal vessel traffic in the ABSI region. The original point location data were obtained from exactEarth, and include copyrighted material of exactEarth Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Major vessel routes identified within this data set were presented at a meeting of the Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment advisory panel in April 2014, and helped inform an application from the U.S. Coast Guard to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the establishment of five Areas to be Avoided (ATBAs). The proposal was approved by the Maritime Safety Committee of the IMO on June 12, 2015. The recommendatory ATBAs went into effect on January 1, 2016, and will be included on all new nautical charts produced after that date.
Marine Invasive Species
Introductions of marine invasive species to the Bering Sea have historically been relatively low, most likely due to geographic isolation and limited human activity; however, with changing global shipping patterns and warming ocean temperatures, introductions are likely to increase. More than 70 marine invasive species have been identified as either occurring, or having the potential to occur in Alaska waters based on proximity of species in neighboring regions, presence of suitable habitat in Alaska, and active vectors that could lead to unintentional introductions (Alaska Invasive Species Working Group 2010). Our goal is to perform a marine invasive species risk assessment that will provide the most up-to-date information for the Bering Sea and investigate risk factors associated with commercial shipping and fishing traffic.
This project is a partnership among UAA’s Alaska Center for Conservation Science, ABSI, Alaska Sea Grant and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.