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.*

Related Articles


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 March 27, 2015 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 March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Two Andean bear cubs are unveiled at the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Alicia Powell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) — Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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