Winter storms and blustery weather buffeting the Bering Sea this month have reduced sea ice coverage by almost 25% since late January. Sea ice in the Bering Sea is typically solid and stable this time of year, but scientists and communities are observing large areas of open water, and where there is ice, much of it is shifting.
For those who wonder what the Bering Sea will be like decades from now, last year may have been a glimpse of the future. It brought something many did not expect: the disappearance of the undersea “cold pool,” which is the nursery for Alaska’s pollock fishery.
“Across the board, everybody has a story about something that they haven’t seen before,” said Dan Martin, a 53-year-old captain of a Bering Sea pollock trawler. We took a fishing trip with Martin to find out what he’s experiencing as the Bering Sea heats up.