The Arctic Ocean is one the most pristine marine regions on the planet. It includes Baffin Bay in Canada and the Beaufort Sea in the United States and Canada. In the Arctic Ocean, there is a burst of plankton growth in spring that helps sustain all living things in the region for much of the rest of the year. The Arctic’s sea ice creates an ecosystem with many species found nowhere else on earth. The ice also reflects sunlight, which helps regulate global temperatures. But the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, altering both human communities and natural systems.
By the numbers
800,000 years in which there has been at least some sea ice in the Arctic Ocean year round.
4 million people call the Arctic region home
950 miles from Arctic to nearest Coast Guard station in the event of oil spill or shipping accident
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No nation on Earth has ever commercially fished in the high seas of the Arctic Ocean for one simple reason: Throughout human history, those waters have been covered with ice. This week before the annual Arctic Circle gathering in Reykjavík, Iceland, scientists from nine countries reminded the world of a letter—signed by more than 2,000 scientists from 67 countries in... Read More
Starting today, governments around the world must ensure that the international trade in four species of sharks—bigeye, common, and pelagic threshers, and silky—is from sustainable and legal sources. These species were included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at the body’s 17th Conference of the... Read More
In a major win for marine life and Indigenous peoples, the Canadian government announced Aug. 14 that the richest marine habitat in the Arctic Ocean—off the northern tip of Baffin Island—would soon be protected and that the boundaries would be twice as large as originally planned. Read More