U.S. Closes Parts of Arctic to Commercial Fishing

Publication: The Christian Science Monitor

Author: Peter N. Spotts

08/21/2009 - Vast areas of the Arctic Ocean are now officially no-go areas for commercial fishermen.

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. Commerce Department has backed a plan to close large portions of the Arctic Ocean within federal jurisdiction, even though the region currently sees little fishing activity.

“This is an historic decision,” says Marilyn Heiman, who heads the Arctic program for the Pew Environment Group, based in Washington, D.C. “This is the first time the government has protected an entire ecosystem before commercial fishing is allowed.”

The plan, which U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke approved on Aug. 20, comes in anticipation of the Arctic Ocean becoming largely ice-free for much of the summer – a condition scientists trace to global warming, compounded by a natural swing in wind patterns that drive large chunks of sea ice out of the Arctic Ocean into the Atlantic during the summer.

Read the full article U.S. Closes Parts of Arctic to Commercial Fishing on the Christian Science Monitor's Web site.

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