Many scientists agree that the effects of climate change may first be seen in areas such as the Bering Sea. This makes the Bering Sea, its sea ice, and the ecosystem it supports, very important to understanding how global climate may affect a specific region. The ecosystem in the Bering Sea supports one of the world's richest and most productive fisheries, and is important to the economy of Alaska and the United States. It also has been used by native cultures for centuries. Changes in the sea ice affect the entire ecosystem, but we do not yet know what all the consequences will be. This is especially true if the sea ice conditions observed in the last three decades continue to change as rapidly as seen in recent years.