President Obama signed an executive order on Friday designating 112,300 square miles from the Bering Strait to north of Bristol Bay a “climate resilience area” after consulting with Native Alaskan tribes who rely on the maritime ecosystem for subsistence living.
The Bering Sea Elders Group and Kawerak Inc., a non-profit that provides social services to Alaska Native Villages, had asked Obama to give indigenous Alaskans more of a voice in managing the natural resources they depend on. In response, the new executive order requires that federal authorities consult the Alaskan tribes, 39 other coastal communities, and state officials before making any changes – expansion of commercial fishing – in the use of to the protected area.
“It is the Native elders’ vision that the northern Bering Sea and the resources that our people rely on be protected because they are the foundation of our culture and way of life,” Harry Lincoln, a Yupik elder from Tununak, and the chairman of the Bering Sea Elders Group, told the Associated Press. READ MORE.