02/06/2009 - Melting arctic ice is an ecological dilemma that will be forcing scientists and diplomats along with the fishing and energy industries to rethink how they do business in U.S. waters off Alaska's north coast.
A dramatic first step came in Seattle Thursday as the North Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously recommended closure of 196,000 square miles of Arctic waters to all commercial fishing.
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Advocacy groups, such as Oceana, the Ocean Conservancy and the Pew Environmental Group, argued for a thoughtful plan for the region, guided by science. Combined with the enlightened self-interest of the commercial-fishing organizations, and the emerging international realities, a complete closure made good sense.
The region is not sealed forever, but the next steps will be informed by scientific inquiry that will determine future policy.
Read the full editorial Diverse Interests Agree on No Harvest in U.S. Arctic on the Seattle Times' Web site.