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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A special working group of the United Nations General Assembly will meet Jan. 20-23 in New York to decide whether to ask world leaders to launch negotiations on an agreement that could create new avenues for protecting increasingly vulnerable marine life in the high seas. Read More
Over 40 percent of commercially important fish species are caught both in coastal waters and on the high seas. As a result, overexploitation of marine life on the high seas will ultimately reduce catches along the coasts and degrade coastal food webs and ecosystems. And any harm to coastal fisheries can have significant implications for food security. Read More
Nestled between Amundsen Gulf and the mouth of the Hornaday River, Darnley Bay is one of the most important ecological and cultural regions in Canada’s western Arctic. Every summer, as the sea ice recedes, the bay transforms into a summer feeding ground for beluga and bowhead whales, ringed seals, and dozens of fish species, including the recently discovered blue char. During these... Read More