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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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
As the number of shark and ray species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) expands, so does the need for fisheries, customs, and environment officials to identify the parts of those animals that are being traded illegally and to look into how these listings will be implemented domestically. Read More