Arctic Coastal States Move to Prohibit Unregulated High Seas Commercial Fishing - Oceana USA

Arctic Coastal States Move to Prohibit Unregulated High Seas Commercial Fishing

Oceana commends science-based, proactive approach that builds on U.S. Arctic Fishery Policy

Press Release Date: July 17, 2015

Location: JUNEAU, AK

Contact:

Dustin Cranor, APR 954.348.1314

Yesterday, the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark, signed a declaration to prevent unregulated commercial fishing on the high seas of the central Arctic Ocean.  The declaration comes as rapid climate change has the potential to make areas of the Arctic Ocean more vulnerable to exploitation by commercial industries.  Arctic coastal states have taken a proactive step to ensure science-based management precedes commercial fishing to ensure future fisheries will be sustainable.  Slow growing fish stocks and the marine food web in the Arctic’s high seas are likely to be particularly vulnerable to depletion from industrial-scale commercial fishing activities.

 The declaration adds to the precautionary Arctic management regime established by the U.S. Arctic Fishery Management Plan (Arctic FMP) of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and National Marine Fisheries Service in 2009. The Arctic FMP initially closed 200,000 square miles of U.S. Arctic Ocean waters from industrial fishing until enough information becomes available to sustainably manage fisheries and assess potential impacts to subsistence activities and the ecosystem.

 Jon Warrenchuk, Oceana’s Campaign Manager and Senior Ocean Scientist, issued the following statement in response to the declaration:

 “Climate change is warming the Arctic at twice the rate of the rest of the planet. Rapidly diminishing sea ice is quickly opening Arctic ecosystems to potential exploitation. Oceana commends this declaration that builds on the U.S. Arctic Fishery Policy.  The declaration is an important step towards ensuring any development of international Arctic fisheries will be done sustainably. We encourage other nations to join with coastal states to establish science-based, precautionary management of international Arctic Ocean waters that will help protect the important and rapidly changing region.”