Economies of the Bering Strait Region
Historically, extreme remoteness and cold have left the Bering Strait region sparsely populated and economically undeveloped. Costs are very high and infrastructure is minimal. Economies are undeveloped, and based primarily on mining and government. Population densities are very low. A high proportion of residents are Natives for whom subsistence hunting and fishing remain important sources of food. In the future, environmental, economic, political and technological factors are likely to bring increased economic activity to the region—although the timing and scale of future economic change are difficult to predict. Economic activities most likely to grow include marine transportation; onshore and offshore mineral and hydrocarbon development; land-based and cruise ship tourism; commercial fishing; and government services and infrastructure needed to support economic and population growth. The nature, timing and scale of growth will depend on a wide range of factors including change in ice conditions, the extent of future resource discoveries; and the extent to which governments make development of the region an economic and strategic priority. Significant economic activities in the Bering Strait region for which shared governance issues are currently or likely to become important include marine subsistence, marine transportation, offshore oil and gas development, commercial fishing, and cruise ship tourism.