About Alaĝum Kanuux̂

Alaĝum Kanuux̂* (the Heart of the Ocean), is a proposed marine sanctuary in the Eastern Bering Sea, approximately 200 miles north of Unalaska, Alaska in the Aleutian island chain; roughly 500 miles southeast of the Siberian Coast, Russia; and about 750 mi west of Anchorage, Alaska. It is just 30 miles from the Eastern Bering Sea shelf, which creates a unique ecosystem around the islands, creating a distinctly productive area with an incredible richness of biodiversity.

The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island (ACSPI) is working toward a designated, co-managed marine area that addresses conservation concerns shared between the communities of St. Paul and St. George while ensuring the sustainability of commercial fisheries and our local economies. ACSPI officially launched the PRIME Initiative on December 20th 2021 with the announcement of a nomination to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. On June 8th 2022, Alaĝum Kanuux̂ was accepted to the Inventory of Successful Nominations.​​

The Pribilof Island Marine Island Ecosystem (or PRIME) has been successfully managed by the federally recognized tribe of the ACSPI for generations. However, ongoing commercial fisheries management in the Bering Sea has not included Tribal government or local Indigenous voices in decision-making in a meaningful way, and partially as a result the islands are experiencing an alarming decline of fur seals, sea lions, seabirds, fish, crab, and other invertebrates, with real costs to wildlife, human and ecosystem health, local economies, and culture. For example, the Northern Fur Seals are one of the highest priorities to the Pribilof Islands Aleut communities. Northern Fur Seals have declined to less than one quarter of their estimated peak historic population of 2.1 million animals in the 1950s. The goal of the Pribilof Island National Marine Sanctuary would be to ensure that this area is co-managed, using the wisdom and experience of the tribe to ensure resources are managed in a way that can be sustainable and promote economic development for generations to come. For more information on our conceptual framework for co-management, please read our Nomination Addendum.

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The following groups have spoken in support of the PRIME initiative:

  • Tribes and Tribal Organizations:
    • Muscogee (Creek) Nation
    • Igiugig Village Council
    • Asa'carasarmuit Tribal Council
    • Alaska Nannut Co-Management Council
    • Aleut Community of St. Paul Tribal Council
    • The Association on American Indian Affairs
    • Bering Sea Elders Group
    • Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
    • First Alaskans Insititute
  • Industry associations:
    • Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association
    • Businesses for Conservation and Climate Action
  • Local, State, and/ or Federal governments
    • City of Saint Paul, Alaska
  • Non-Governmental-Organizations:
    • The Climate Strong Islands Network
    • Island Institute
    • Alaska Wildlife Alliance
    • Audubon Alaska
    • Ocean Conservancy
    • Oceana
    • Pacific Environment
    • Oceans Media Institute
    • SalmonState
    • St. Croix Environmental Association
    • World Wildlife Fund
    • The Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust

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