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NGOs urge large retailers to help protect the Bering Sea


Greenpeace is one of the NGOs promoting a campaign to provide special protection to the Bering Sea. (Photo: Greenpeace)

Click on the flag for more information about United StatesUNITED STATES
Friday, January 23, 2015, 01:20 (GMT + 9)
Three non-governmental organizations have launched a campaign in Seattle to urge major US retailers to help protect the ecosystem of the Bering Sea in Alaska.
The three groups - Greenpeace, Marine Conservation Institute and Mission Blue (Sylvia Earle Alliance) - argue that Costco, Target and Albertsons could help preserve 20 per cent of the waters of the US oceans, where fish stocks have been depleted and whose sensitive ocean habitat has been destroyed by industrial fishing without large retailers assuming their responsibility, as they continue to market these products. 
“We’re calling on Costco, Target and Albertsons to step up as leaders by rejecting seafood that is harvested from the world’s largest underwater canyons in the Bering Sea,” the NGOs say in a statement.
The campaign started by the NGOs, called 2020 Vision, advocates for the canyons to be preserved as protected marine habitat, which would allow fishing healthier beyond the boundaries of the conservation area.
Establishing a marine conservation area around the canyons would be a first step towards protecting 20 percent of US waters in 2020, a number that is currently about 10 percent.
The Bering Sea canyon houses a rich and large underwater ecosystem. Pribilof and Zhemchug canyons are perhaps bigger than the Grand Canyon National Park and are home of at least 450 species of fish, crustaceans and molluscs, along with 80 per cent of the US seabird population and 25 species marine mammals.
Although the area has great importance because of the sea life involved, it remains unprotected and vulnerable to damage from industrial fishing gears.
The campaign promoters will deploy ads throughout Seattle for four weeks, and they are also planning to place additional ads addressed at supermarkets elsewhere in the country. 
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