The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past an iceberg in Lancaster Sound on 11 July 2008. Jonathan Hayward / Canadian Press

22 April 2012 (Canadian Press) – A group of more than 2,000 scientists from 67 countries has called for a moratorium on commercial fishing in the Arctic until more research can be completed on waters that were once covered by ice year-round.

The scientists said the loss of permanent sea ice has opened up as much as 40 per cent of the Central Arctic Ocean during recent summers, making industrial fishing viable for the first time.

But they said such activities should be prohibited until there's a better understanding of the area and sustainable fishing quotas can be set.

"The ability to fish is not the same as having the scientific information and management regimes needed for a well-managed fishery," the scientists said in an open letter released Sunday by the U.S.-based Pew Environment Group.

"In the absence of this scientific data and a robust management system, depletion of fishery resources and damage to other components of the ecosystem are likely to result if fisheries commence."

The letter was released on Earth Day, just as a major, week-long conference kicked off in Montreal bringing together Arctic researchers to discuss the effects of climate change.

More than 60 per cent of the scientists who signed the letter were from the five Arctic coastal countries, including 551 from Canada. […]

The scientists said they were concerned a lack of regulation could make it a target for large bottom trawlers, which would put stress on fish populations.

"Atlantic Canada has experienced the damage that unregulated fishing can cause, even when it is outside the 200-mile (320-kilometre) limit," Trevor Taylor, policy director for Oceans North Canada, which is connected with the Pew Environment Group, said in a statement. […]

Arctic fishing moratorium needed, scientists say


  1. Anonymous said...

    Anybody want to make a wager on how this is going to turn out?

    I think we already know. Industry will bribe the politicians and the courts (challenges which are sure to come) and get their way, reaping insane profits while we strip-mine the Arctic.

    It's just be another depleted ocean, buying humanity a few more years of survival until it's all over.  


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