Warming Arctic leads to fishing ban

Posted by Christine, July 18, 2015

The NYTimes reports on an agreement to ban all commercial fishing in the Arctic Ocean:

WASHINGTON — The United States and four other nations that border the Arctic Ocean pledged on Thursday to prohibit commercial fishing in the international waters of the Arctic until more scientific research could be done on how warming seas and melting ice are affecting fish stocks.

The agreement came as an annual report on the world’s climate — released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Meteorological Society — said that temperatures on the ocean surface reached the highest levels in 135 years of record keeping.

The ocean’s rising temperature, which was particularly acute in the Northern Pacific last year, has drawn fish stocks farther north. That development, along with the shrinking levels of ice, has raised the prospect of industrial-scale fishing in the once-inaccessible Arctic.

“Climate change is affecting the migration patterns of fish stocks,” Norway’s foreign minister, Borge Brende, said in a statement after the declaration was signed in Oslo, the Norwegian capital. He said that Norway and the other coastal states in the Arctic — Canada, Denmark (on behalf of its territory of Greenland), Russia and the United States — had a “particular responsibility” to regulate fishing that is likely to occur there.

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