In June 2015, Pew, along with Audubon Alaska, Friends of the Earth, Oceana, the Ocean Conservancy, Pacific Environment, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and WWF, submitted recommendations on a Port Access Route Study (PARS) for the northern Bering Sea and the Bering Strait that is being conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard. The area has tremendous ecological significance and is vital for the food security and subsistence way of life practiced by local communities. The study is intended to help reduce the risk of marine casualties and increase the efficiency of vessel traffic in the region.
Although much of this region remains poorly charted, vessel traffic has increased significantly—a trend that is expected to continue. In this context, an integrated system of routing and mitigation measures is necessary to enhance vessel safety and preserve ecosystem health.