Two thousand scientists from 67 countries have published an open letter calling for a moratorium on fishing in the northern Arctic Ocean, Nature reports.Recent melting of Arctic ice in summer months has opened up as much as 40 per cent of formerly frozen areas that are outside the economic zones of the nations that circle the pole, according to The Toronto Star. And although no fishing has occurred there yet, the lack of concrete regulation makes it a magnet for commercial vessels.
The letter, released by the Pew Environment Group on Earth Day, said the science community must be allowed to determine “the presence, abundance, structure, movements, and health of fish stocks and the role they play in the broader ecosystem of the central Arctic Ocean,” before it is opened to commercial ventures.
Scientists are afraid indiscriminate fishing could deplete resources and affect the population of seals, whales and polar bears.
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