Russia and US agree to Arctic fishing ban

Melting Arctic iceArctic fishing ban: The US, Russia, Canada, Norway and Denmark yesterday signed an agreement in Oslo barring their fishing fleets from the fast-thawing seas around the North Pole. The accord has been delayed by over a year due to events in Ukraine and is a response to melting of the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean due to global warming, and which currently effects an area the size of the Mediterranean.
The central Arctic probably has no commercial fish stocks now, experts say, but warmer seas may draw fish such as cod farther north. 40%of the area was briefly open water when summer sea ice shrank to a record low in 2012. “The deal “will prevent a problem from arising ahead of time,” David Balton, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for oceans and fisheries, told Reuters. “Very little is known about this area of the ocean.”
“Climate change is affecting the migration patterns of fish stocks,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende added, saying that Arctic states had a responsibility to protect the international waters, starting 200 nautical miles (370 km) from their coasts.
Thursday’s accord was negotiated in outline in Greenland in February 2014 and was due to to be signed in June 2014, but the timetable was thrown off course by the annexation of Crimea, prompting the US and Canada to boycott a meeting of the Arctic Council.
The Arctic states also want other major fishing nations — including China, Vietnam, South Korea and all EU states — to agree not to venture into the central Arctic Ocean.