OPENING MAY 2010 in STEWART British Columbia, CANADA 

    The Bear River Interpretive Centre is a private  initiative of a French naturalist,      Jean-Louis IMBS


    This centre is dedicated to our BEARS and SALMONS. The mission of the Bear River Interpretive Center (the BRIC) is to connect People and Nature through EDUCATION, RESEARCH and CONSERVATION.

    The need for our continuing work to benefit the bears, the salmons and their habitat is growing in a rapid pace. With your help we can join together in a growing educational and conservational partnership.

    The BRIC is open to all of you, the local community as well as all the tourists coming to Stewart and Hyder to enjoy the beautys of Nature! 

     http://amisdesours.com = access to our blog in French 

    http://mvfram.blogspot.com = Follow Jean-Louis IMBS in the Arctic and in  Antarctica where as naturalist he gives lectures on wildlife and climate change. 

    Polar bears are at high risk! See this video on Youtube "Polar bear on thin ice"





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    Meeting of the parties to the

    1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears

    Tromsø, Norway, 17 – 19 March 2009


    Climate change has a negative impact on polar bears and their habitat and is the

    most important long term threat facing polar bears. Action to mitigate this threat is

    beyond the scope of the Polar Bear Agreement. Climate change affects every

    nation on the earth and reaches well beyond the five parties to the Agreement so

    the parties look to other fora and national and international mechanisms to take

    appropriate action to address climate change.


    The Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears was concluded in Oslo, Norway, on

    15 November 1973, and today has Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia and the United

    States of America as parties.

    At a polar bear range states meeting in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA, 26 – 28

    June 2007, the range states, in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement,

    including Articles VIII and IX, agreed that meetings under the Agreement should be held

    on a biennial schedule or otherwise as agreed to by the Parties.

    The range states also agreed in Shepherdstown that the first such meeting should be held

    in 2009, and in 2008 the parties welcomed the offer of Norway to host such a meeting.

    Against this background, the five parties met in Tromsø, Norway, 17 – 19 March 2009,

    with an objective to provide an update on the conservation status for the polar bears,

    review implementation of the Agreement, identify useful polar bear conservation

    strategies and to discuss mechanisms for enhanced implementation of the Agreement.

    Harvest Management

    The parties continue to regard harvest management as an important part of polar bear

    management. The parties note the important progress made in developing sustainable

    harvest regimes, including the setting of bilateral coordinating mechanisms. The parties

    recognized the cultural and nutritional importance of subsistence harvest of polar bears to

    the Native peoples of the north.


    Polar bears and climate change

    The parties agreed that impacts of climate change and the continued and increasing loss

    and fragmentation of sea ice -- the key habitat for both polar bears and their main prey

    species -- constitutes the most important threat to polar bear conservation.

    The parties noted with deep concern the escalating rates and extent of changes in the

    Arctic induced by climate change to date and that future changes are projected to be even

    larger. The parties agreed that long term conservation of polar bears depends upon

    successful mitigation of climate change.

    Management responses

    The parties agreed that conservation of polar bears requires adaptive management in

    response to climate change. The primary adaptation strategy will be to manage and

    reduce the other stresses on polar bears and their ecosystems, such as habitat destruction,

    harvesting, pollution and anthropogenic disturbance. Furthermore, continued climate

    change amplifies such stressors and underscores the need for proactive and

    comprehensive management strategies.

    Resilience of polar bear populations to climate change depend upon proactive approaches

    and should be explored further to encourage conservation planning that is relevant both

    today and in the future. The parties have differing capabilities and recognized the

    advantages of sharing best management practices that address the range of impacts

    associated with climate change.

    The parties agreed that effective responses depend upon an understanding of likely

    regional climatic and ecological changes. Monitoring climate and environmental change

    – in particular loss of sea ice and denning habitat - and associated responses in polar bear

    populations and the ecosystems that they depend upon is vital to allow for adjustments in

    management strategies.

    Longer term perspectives

    The parties expressed concern that ultimately, opportunities for polar bear conservation

    are limited by the magnitude and rate of change in climate and sea ice conditions.

    The parties were also concerned that their common obligations to protect the ecosystem

    of which polar bears are a part can only be met if global temperatures do not rise beyond

    levels where the sea ice retreats from extensive parts of the Arctic. A scientific

    presentation noted that if sea ice is reduced according to present projections, polar bears

    are likely to be extirpated from most of their range within this century.

    On this background, the parties recognized the urgent need for an effective global

    response that will address the challenges of climate change. Further, the parties


    recommended that ongoing efforts within appropriate fora negotiating strategies to

    address climate change should be informed of the significance of climate change to the

    conservation of polar bears.

    Habitat protection

    The parties reinforced the importance of habitat protection as a means of implementing

    Article II of the Agreement on protection of ecosystems of which polar bears are a part.

    Parties also welcomed efforts already undertaken on habitat protection, including

    protected areas and land and seascape planning.

    The parties also recognized that expansion of protected areas can potentially reduce the

    vulnerability of polar bear populations and the ecosystems of which bears are a part. It

    was also recognized that protected areas should be designed with consideration of longterm

    shifts in sea ice conditions that will result from climate change and the overall

    integrity of habitats critical to polar bear survival.

    Contaminants and pollution

    The parties expressed concern that long range transport of pollutants into the Arctic

    environment is shown to affect polar bears. The scope of these effects on polar bear

    populations are only partially understood, but their impacts on some populations may be

    significant. The parties also recognized that transport mechanisms may be altered and

    effects on polar bears amplified as a result of climate change. Comprehensive monitoring

    and research on the effects of contaminant loads in polar bears, and synergistic effects of

    contaminants and climate change is therefore important.

    The parties recognized the urgent need for an effective global response that will address

    the challenges of contaminants. Ongoing efforts within appropriate fora negotiating

    strategies to address contaminants should be informed of the significance of contaminants

    to the conservation of polar bears.

    Activities in polar bear areas

    Industrial development

    Industrial development continues to expand northward into areas used by polar bears.

    Several areas of oil and gas interest are identified within these areas. The parties

    recognize the need to identify key habitats for polar bears and areas in need of protection

    to establish a basis for land and seascape planning in advance of development. The

    parties also recognized the importance of having general operating procedures and

    mitigation measures in place for developed areas. Such measures are in use in the US

    Beaufort Sea coast oilfields and could provide guidance for other parties. Monitoring


    impacts of industrial development on polar bears was considered important as was

    contingency (emergency) planning. The parties agreed that strict environmental

    regulations and standards are needed to protect polar bears potentially affected by

    industrial development.


    The parties recognized the likelihood of dramatically increased shipping as longer icefree

    seasons increase access and open new trans-polar sea routes (Northern Sea Route;

    transiting the Bering Strait; and Northwest Passage). Potential effects of shipping on

    polar bears include pollution, noise, physical disturbance related to ice-breaking, and

    waste. Shipping scenarios and associated impact assessments have been developed

    through the Arctic Council (Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment). This assessment

    should be considered by the parties in their work to develop specific mitigation measures,

    including routing of traffic and other maritime safety measures; to identify monitoring

    and research priorities; and, to establish contingency plans to minimize impacts from

    shipping on polar bears.

    Tourism and traffic

    The parties recognized the value of tourism for economic and education development

    goals. In some areas, there has been a dramatic increase in the number and range of

    cruise ships moving further north into areas used by polar bears as open water access has

    improved. Potential effects of increased tourism include pollution, disturbance and

    increased risk of defense kills. Actions to address such impacts could include limiting

    access to sensitive habitats, competence requirements for guides, guidelines and rules for

    operating in polar bear areas and near polar bears, measures to reduce pollution risks, and

    post trip reports of wildlife sightings and other activities from tour operators. Polar bear

    viewing opportunities are expanding in many parts of the Arctic, and the parties

    recognized the value of Canada’s management experience in Churchill.

    Safety measures for people and communities

    Bear-human interactions will increase due to expanding human populations, industrial

    development and tourism. In addition, a continued increase in the number of

    nutritionally stressed bears on land due to retreating sea ice will result in more bearhuman

    interactions. The parties agree on the need to develop comprehensive strategies to

    manage such conflicts. Opportunities to share techniques and develop strategies have

    been identified above. Some existing strategies include active deterrence, reduction of

    attractants, and community education and outreach. Expertise developed for

    management of other bear species should be consulted in the development of strategies

    specific to polar bears. The parties agreed to exhange experiences with management of

    bear-human interactions and welcomed the US offer to lead such an effort in

    collaboration with polar bear experts and managers from the other parties.


    Two specific opportunities identified to develop bear-human interaction strategies are the

    upcoming workshops in November 2009 in Canada and planned in Alaska in 2010.

    Development of plans for action

    In light of the growing concern over polar bear conservation in relation to climate change

    and a number of other emerging issues, such as oil- and gas activities, shipping and

    tourism, the parties agreed to initiate a process that would lead to a coordinated approach

    to conservation and management strategies between the parties.

    A key aspect of this approach is the recognition that plans for action should be developed

    at a national level leading up to development of comprehensive circumpolar plans for

    action that address polar bear conservation.

    The process to provide advice to the parties will involve the following steps.

    1. Parties request of PBSG an outline or identification of topics that should be

    included in all national plans for action. Furthermore, PBSG should identify

    elements that could benefit from international cooperation. The parties

    recognized an interest in accomplishing this step in 2009.

    2. Parties will review and discuss outline material provided by PBSG.

    3. Parties will identify and initiate specific topics of general interest (such as bearhuman


    4. Parties will identify topics where additional information may be helpful and

    develop further requests to PBSG as needed.

    The parties shared a general expectation that significant progress would be made by the

    next biennial meeting.

    Traditional Ecological Knowledge

    The parties recognized that polar bears play an important role in the socio-economical

    and cultural well being of aboriginal peoples. TEK in concert with western science

    should be utilized in polar bear management decisions.

    Scientific advice

    The parties recognized that Article VII of the Agreement calls for all parties to conduct

    national research programs, particularly relating to the conservation and management of

    polar bears, and that they shall coordinate such research and exchange information on

    research programs, results, and data on bears taken. Parties continue to be committed to

    carrying out research in support of polar bear conservation.


    The parties also recognized that the technical support and scientific advice on polar bear

    conservation provided by the PBSG to the parties supports the 1973 Agreement and is a

    vital part of the decision making process that the competent authorities should utilize in

    making their management decisions concerning polar bear conservation.

    The parties agreed to ask the PBSG to accept the role of scientific advisory group to the

    parties and welcomed the offer by the PBSG chair to bring this to the PBSG for their


    Other issues related to the conservation of polar bears

    Export and import of polar bear products

    The parties noted that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

    (CITES) is the key regulatory mechanism for export and import in polar bear products

    and that all parties have adequate statutory authority for CITES. The parties

    acknowledged the significant progress made by Greenland in its implementation of


    Cooperation in management of shared polar bear populations

    Several polar bear populations are shared between parties, and the parties recognized the

    mechanisms in place for cooperation on the management of these shared populations, and

    encouraged further development of such cooperation.


    The parties welcomed ongoing efforts to monitor status and trends for polar bear

    populations, and agreed on the need to strengthen monitoring throughout the range of

    polar bears, and to coordinate and harmonize national monitoring efforts.

    Assessing the effectiveness of the Agreement

    The parties agreed that a process should be developed to assess the effectiveness of the

    agreement to achieve its core objectives, and agreed to come back to this at a later

    biennial meeting under the Agreement.

    Commitment to Continued Cooperation

    In accordance with the provisions of the Agreement, including Articles VIII and IX, the

    parties reconfirmed that meetings under the Agreement should be held on a biennial

    schedule or otherwise as agreed to by the Parties.


    The parties welcomed Canada’s offer to host the next biennial meeting in 2011 and

    Russia’s offer to host the biennial meeting in 2013, noting that these offers facilitate a

    multi-year approach to coordinated implementation of the Agreement.

    Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the parties have agreed to carry out regular,

    ongoing work leading to the 2011 meeting. Such collaboration would be facilitated by

    the host of the next meeting informed by the host of the previous meeting.

    *** This outcome document is not legally binding and creates no legally binding

    obligations of the parties to the 1973 multilateral agreement for the conservation of polar



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