The Bering Sea Elders Group is an alliance of thirty-nine Yup’ik and Inupiaq villages that seeks to protect the sensitive ecosystem of the Bering Sea, the subsistence lifestyle, and the sustainable communities that depend on it. NARF has designed a comprehensive plan to help this group of Alaska Native villages in their efforts to protect the area and become more engaged in its management. Subsistence is the inherently sustainable Native philosophy of taking only what you need. There are often no roads and no stores in rural Alaska, and so no other group of people in the United States continues to be as intimately connected to the land and water and as dependent upon its vast natural resources as Alaska’s indigenous peoples.
NARF has been working with the Elders Group in their negotiations with the bottom trawl industry. These negotiations have resulted in the creation of a Working Group which will study various issues including seafloor habitat and subsistence uses of the area and make recommendations about changes that need to be made.
To read the Elders Group’s publication, The Northern Bering Sea: Our Way of Life, which describes extensive areas where Alaska Native hunters and local fishermen harvest marine resources, visit the Bering Sea Elder Group’s website.