Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

US Blocks Fishing Trawlers From Following Retreating Arctic Ice

Date:
February 20, 2009
Source:
World Wildlife Fund
Summary:
Commercial fishing in US Arctic waters is to be banned at least until its effects are understood, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has decided.

A section of Hubbard glacier in Alaska breaking off and falling into the ocean. The Arctic ice cover has been eroding rapidly over the past few years as a result of global climate change.
Credit: iStockphoto/Milos Peric

Commercial fishing in US Arctic waters is to be banned at least until its effects are understood, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has decided.*

In the most powerful application yet of the precautionary principle to fisheries, the council said its prohibition should stay in force until impacts of commercial fishing in previously ice covered waters are fully understood.

“This is a courageous and ethical move by Alaska’s fishermen,” said Bill Fox, Vice President of Fisheries with WWF-US. WWF, along with other groups, has been lobbying for a ban on commercial fishing in the Arctic until a fisheries management plan for the region is developed.

“We do not know enough about the ecology of these areas to allow them to be fished commercially. Until we have that information in hand, we should not tamper with these vulnerable ecosystems, particularly at a time when climate change is already threatening them.”

Council member Bill Tweit, of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said, “Traditional knowledge and the precautionary principle is applied here which is important in the scientific management of fisheries in the Arctic" while US State Dept Nicole Ricci described the decision as “a pioneering piece of domestic regulation which will provide international leadership for fisheries management in the Arctic”

The Arctic ice cover has been eroding rapidly over the past few years as a result of global climate change, with Arctic warming levels being about twice the global average.

Summer 2007 set a record for the minimum extent of arctic sea ice at 4.3 million square kilometers, with 2008 close behind. The summer ice cover has fallen by more than 40% from the 1980s, opening around 1.3 million square kilometres of the Arctic to fishing, oil exploration and shipping.

Arctic ecosystems are considered extremely fragile and slow to recover from disruptions or damage. Fish stocks are particularly sensitive to ocean temperatures with even small changes resulting extremely unpredictable shifts in the locations and productivity of the stocks and even a small commercial fishery in the Arctic could have substantial impacts.

Also uncovered by the retreating ice are significant gaps in regulatory cover over the national and international waters of the Arctic. Welcome as the new US moves are, they apply to only a small proportion of Arctic waters.

“We urge other Arctic countries to follow the lead of the US,” said Fox. “Many of the fish stocks and other elements of the marine ecosystem cross more than one country’s jurisdiction and while the US move is helpful, it is not sufficient unless other Arctic nations take similar steps.

“This is a perfect example of why the Arctic needs a better legal and regulatory framework so that we can take coordinated steps to protect both the environment and the welfare of Arctic communities.”

Kodiak fisherman and council member Duncan Fields said he had "been persuaded to support this plan by testimony from those in Western Alaska.  I've also been informed and persuaded by the tremendous voices in the environmental community and the many faces who contributed from their organizations".

*February 5, 2009


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by World Wildlife Fund. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

World Wildlife Fund. "US Blocks Fishing Trawlers From Following Retreating Arctic Ice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220190326.htm>.
World Wildlife Fund. (2009, February 20). US Blocks Fishing Trawlers From Following Retreating Arctic Ice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220190326.htm
World Wildlife Fund. "US Blocks Fishing Trawlers From Following Retreating Arctic Ice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220190326.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Parks officials in Stevens Point, Wisconsin had a fowl problem. Canadian Geese were making a mess of a park, so officials enlisted cardboard versions of man's best friend. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins