05/12/2011 - Two hundred miles above Canada’s most northern shore lies a body of international water that has been covered in ice for more than 800,000 years – a sea the size of the Mediterranean kept beyond reach of commercial fishing interests by a vast frozen dome of white.
But the ice shield is melting and no agreements are in place to prevent boats from China, Japan and other fishing nations from entering the High Arctic to reap an undersea bounty that could become accessible in just a few years.
There is no way to know whether the area could support a commercial fishing industry, said Scott Highleyman, the Arctic director for the Pew Environment Group, a U.S.-based environmental research agency.
“We have almost no science on what fish stocks are there,” Mr. Highleyman said. “And even the act of exploratory fishing, which is the first thing that would happen – a country like China would go up and do exploratory fishing in these waters – could easily cause a lot of ecosystem problems.”
Read the full article Coastal Nations Urged to Preserve Arctic Waters on The Globe and Mail's Web site.