"U.S. Commerce Secretary Freezes Arctic Fishing Expansion"

"Once ice-bound even in summer, climate change now is thawing the Arctic in summer, opening up waters that commercial fishing interests are eager to harvest.

To prevent ecosystem damage due to commercial harvesting activity, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today decided to prohibit the expansion of commercial fishing in federal Arctic waters until researchers gather enough information on fish and the Arctic marine environment to put safeguards in place.

'As Arctic sea ice recedes due to climate change, there is increasing interest in commercial fishing in Arctic waters,” said Locke. 'We are in a position to plan for sustainable fishing that does not damage the overall health of this fragile ecosystem.'

Fisheries managers have identified Arctic cod, saffron cod, and snow crab as likely initial target species for commercial fishing in the region."

Environment News Service had the story August 20, 2009.

Friday, August 21, 2009