The Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands region supports an extraordinarily productive marine ecosystem. Pollock, cod, flatfish, halibut, crab, and salmon are abundant, and these Alaskan fisheries provide more than half of the seafood consumed in the United States. In addition to the commercial fishing industry, the region supplies food for more than 30 Alaska Native communities through subsistence hunting and fishing.
Millions of seabirds from more than 30 different species breed and summer here. Nearly half of Alaska’s seabirds live in 10 colonies in the Bering Sea. Tens of thousands of marine mammals including Steller’s sea lions, sea otters, seals and whales depend on this important region for habitat.
The islands of this vast region were mostly formed from volcanic activity that is still shaping the landscape today. There are 52 historically active volcanoes in the region and 14 have erupted since 1990. The Kasatochi eruption of 2008 completely buried the island in a new layer of ash that gives researchers an opportunity to understand the evolution of ecological systems on volcanic islands.
Strong partnerships already exist to address many of the resource management concerns throughout the area. The Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands LCC will not duplicate or assume the authority of any of the existing partnerships rather it will seek to find efficiencies through collaboration and through the collection of additional science to address high priority resource management issues shared by the cooperative’s partners.