Climate change is causing ice to melt quickly, with almost half of the mass of Antarctic territories facing water transformation. Scientists have already sent serious warnings as they can observe the disastrous effects of global warming taking effect at a rapid pace.
At least 40% of the Central Arctic Ocean is open water in the summer. Usually, summer brings increased commercial fishing activities in the area. This means a massive arrival of commercial fishing boats along with massive nets.
Five countries around the world’s northernmost ocean signed an accord last Thursday, pledging the ban of their own ships to fish in the Arctic Ocean’s international waters, up until a full scientific assessment of fish stocks can be conducted. Presently, the off-limits territory is a 2, 8 million square KM body of water surrounded by the US, Canada, Russia, the Danish territory of Greenland and Norway.
This is the best sign of action ever to be taken to combat the effects of global warming and aggressive fishing in the frozen territories of the Arctic Ocean. The agreement is highly remarkable from two points of view. Countries have first of all gathered together in a partnership aimed at protecting a highly sensitive environment before it is threatened, although several of the ones involved are also part of a bitter disagreement over Russian aggression in Ukraine. In spite of that, several nations have reached a state of peaceful debate and concluded that areas that are presently under threat must be protected and preserved.
The agreement states that commercial fishing in the Arcic Ocean, an area larger than Alaska and Texas combined, is forbidden. The UN is expected to take steps with other Arctic Nations to negotiate an agreement for equitably managing fish stocks in the Arctic Ocean, as well as agree on the Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, which obliges the US to prevent unregulated high seas fisheries in the Arctic.
Commercial fishing in the Arctic Ocean will no longer be tolerated in the future. Furthermore, the joint program of scientific research will help nations understand the inner workings of the ecosystem in the area.
The partnership was motivated by previous experiences that had unwanted effects for large territories such as the central Bering Sea, where Pollock stocks were overfished to collapse in the 80’s. Although efforts have been made to impose a fishing ban, the lost stocks have never been recovered. Canada learned its lesson in the past as well, once with the collapse of the Atlantic cod fishery.
The accord is only the first step, as fishing boats from other states that are not part of the agreement could still fish in the ocean. The next action is to bring together massive fishing powers, such as China, South Korea, Japan and the EU, in a joint meeting to negotiate a broader partnership.
Fishing in the Arctic Ocean has been banned for only a small part of the world and initiators must be guided by strong efforts to gather other forces and take serious action over this highly delicate matter.
Image Source: discovery.com