Bering Sea and the discovery of a new sponge species

Photo credit: Greenpeace

Review: Greenpeace and Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)

Bering Sea (new sponge species)

The Bering Sea, Alaska which is in the northernmost part of the Pacific Ocean, has been named after Vitus Bering, a Danish-born Russian explorer who sailed the Sea in 1728. The sea is considered one of the wildest regions in the world and similarly is one of the most important commercial fishing grounds in the world; of over half of the seafood caught in the USA comes from the Bering Sea. Additionally, the Bering Sea has some of the largest submarine deep enough canyons in the world which provide refuges for fish species from industrial fishing operations

The 2-million annual fish catch from the Bering Sea, has been accompanied by significant reduction offood supply for marine mammals and birds and great changes in the ecosystem of the sea.

Of particular importance, the fragile coral and sponge habitat have been damaged by bottom-contactfishing gear. The ecological concerns regarding the threats to the sea encouraged stakeholders of publicagencies, tribal groups, governments, and seafood businesses to work together and campaign towardsthe protection of Bering Sea.

During the conservation activities carried out by Greenpeace in the Bering sea and while investigating the deep sea canyons, a new species of sponge (shown in the inserted image) was discovered in the summer of 2007 while Greenpeaceannounced the discovery was on April 28, 2008.  The new sponge species was named Aaptos kanuux, the word “kanuux” being the Aleut word for “heart,” to express how the canyons act as the heart of the Bering Sea as felt by the natives.




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