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Bering Strait: The 2020 Foreign Marine Debris Event

March 1 @ 10:00 am to 11:00 am AKST

Speaker: Gay Sheffield, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program

During summer 2020, the Bering Strait region of Alaska experienced a marine debris event that brought garbage ashore that was different from the types and amount typically observed.  A collaborative response to the event was undertaken by the regional public out of concern for food security, wildlife health, and human health.  Residents, tribal leadership, and communities documented, reported, conducted clean-up activities, and investigated the source of debris on a voluntary basis using personal resources, little to no training, and limited response capacity.  Without significant collaborative transboundary communication and/or enforcement of existing international marine pollution rules, the Bering Strait region should expect more marine garbage as industrial maritime ship traffic increases.