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Earth Science

Nations Agree To Ban Fishing in Arctic Ocean For At Least 16 Years (sciencemag.org) 96

Several readers share a report: Nine nations and the European Union have reached a deal to place the central Arctic Ocean (CAO) off-limits to commercial fishers for at least the next 16 years. The pact, announced last week, will give scientists time to understand the region's marine ecology -- and the potential impacts of climate change -- before fishing becomes widespread. "There is no other high seas area where we've decided to do the science first," says Scott Highleyman, vice president of conservation policy and programs at the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C., who also served on the U.S. delegation to the negotiations. "It's a great example of putting the precautionary principle into action." The deal to protect 2.8 million square kilometers of international waters in the Arctic was reached after six meetings spread over 2 years. It includes not just nations with coastal claims in the Arctic, but nations such as China, Japan, and South Korea with fishing fleets interested in operating in the region.

Nations Agree To Ban Fishing in Arctic Ocean For At Least 16 Years

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  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @03:48PM (#55674849)

    Since it's in international waters, the only result of this will be that the nations that signed up won't be doing any fishing while the ones that didn't will still be doing business as usual.

    • No, not business as usual; enjoying a yield like they haven't seen in years!
      • All fish in Arctic waters property of the Glorious Soviet, err, Russian Nuclear Powered Icebreaker/Research Vessel. Comrade, err, Doctor Lysenko already planning experiments to produce Gillmen able to approach American submarines and plant magnetic bombs charges on them, as NKVD punishment battalions were assigned to do to Panzers in Great Patriotic war after all suicide dogs [scribol.com] eaten by greedy Kulaks.

    • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @03:58PM (#55674957) Journal

      Since it's in international waters, the only result of this will be that the nations that signed up won't be doing any fishing while the ones that didn't will still be doing business as usual.

      Signatories include the EU, and nine nations: Canada, Denmark(Greenland), Norway, Russia, United States, Japan, China, South Korea, and Iceland. That's a lot of fish that will be left alone for the next 16 years. I'd say that will make an impact.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        We're not fishing, were doing research using a sampling without replacement design.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Japan, is that you?
      • by CaseyB ( 1105 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @04:09PM (#55675061)

        Dead surprised to see the US on that list. No doubt they'll change their mind once they realize they can make a quick buck at the expense of the planet.

        • I'll be surprised if the US is still intact in 15 years, let alone honoring an environmental treaty.
          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            I'll be surprised if the US is still intact in 15 years, let alone honoring an environmental treaty.

            You should be saying that about EU countries. As it stands now, Canada has repeatedly arrested commercial fishers from norway, sweden, denmark and iceland for illegally fishing, illegally fishing in Canadian territorial waters, and illegally using banned netting. US commercial fishers at least have adhered to the rules for the last 50 years(or are clever enough not to be caught). China is another flagrant abuser of international maritime laws relating to fishing.

            Keep in mind that with this treaty it does

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I was more surprised to see Iceland; their second largest fishing port is basically in the Arctic Circle, and although they're a wonderfully tolerant and environmentally friendly people, you fuck with their fishing and they'll gut you like a herring, i.e. with terrifying efficiency.

        • Let's see. Environmental movement started with America. America has done a good job of managing our fisheries except when we have europeans and Chinese running through our waters and fishing illegally. Otoh, both Europe and China are destroying the fishing all around their nations. Hmm.
      • Since it's in international waters, the only result of this will be that the nations that signed up won't be doing any fishing while the ones that didn't will still be doing business as usual.

        Signatories include the EU, and nine nations: Canada, Denmark(Greenland), Norway, Russia, United States, Japan, China, South Korea, and Iceland. That's a lot of fish that will be left alone for the next 16 years. I'd say that will make an impact.

        Japan's commitment covers commercial fishing, not their 'scientific' endeavors.

      • Signatories include the EU, and nine nations: Canada, Denmark(Greenland), Norway, Russia, United States, Japan, China, South Korea, and Iceland. That's a lot of fish that will be left alone for the next 16 years. I'd say that will make an impact.

        No, that's a lot of countries that won't be fishing in the specified area. If, for instance, North Korea were to send fishing boats there, well, they'd be catching as much as they wanted to, what with no competition for the fish...

        As to whether it'll make an impac

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Japan doesn't care about the Arctic yet, they are still too busy illegally exterminating the Antarctic whale population.

      • It will make an impact, but the next 16 years are going to be a period of extreme environmental upheaval in the Arctic as the cap starts to melt every summer.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Since it's in international waters, the only result of this will be that the nations that signed up won't be doing any fishing while the ones that didn't will still be doing business as usual.

      I'd not be so sure about that. Quite a lot of countries, especially in Africa and Asia, have no concept of sustainable use of renewable resources whatsoever, they have already fished out their own territorial waters and the pirate fleets they operate are now perpetrating a tragedy of the commons in international waters.There are plenty of costal states in the Atlantic for example who watch these pirate fleets overfish the areas outside of their 200 mile EEZ and they are are just itching to go after these p

    • Not true. China signed and they will still fish there.
  • by OffTheLip ( 636691 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @03:48PM (#55674851)
    Good. Hopefully all nations will be complaint and this is the start of something big.
  • ...Think they are about 40,000 years too late for that.

  • Because I recall an article where some countries get around bans like this by saying it's for scientific purposes.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Delicious, savory scientific purposes.

  • Dead Sea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by youngone ( 975102 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @03:56PM (#55674947)
    Meanwhile the Antarctic is being sucked dry of everything that swims as quickly as the massive seafood concerns can fish.
    Lots of it is illegal [antarctica.gov.au] fishing, and using slave labour.
    Also the Pacific is being fished empty, illegally by vast foreign fishing fleets, despite the Pacific nations protests. [theguardian.com]
    In my view commercial fishing is unsustainable long term, and should be outlawed completely.
    • Meanwhile the Antarctic is being sucked dry of everything that swims as quickly as the massive seafood concerns can fish. Lots of it is illegal [antarctica.gov.au] fishing, and using slave labour. Also the Pacific is being fished empty, illegally by vast foreign fishing fleets, despite the Pacific nations protests. [theguardian.com] In my view commercial fishing is unsustainable long term, and should be outlawed completely.

      Not just the Pacific, fishing fleets from the Pacific have been operating in the North Atlantic for years. A lot of these fleets come from places like Taiwan and the Comoros. There are also fleets engaging in massive overfishing operating out of Italy and the Balkans. The only way to fix this is to extend the fisheries managment authority of nations to international waters and then form naval task forces with the authority to board and confiscate illegal fishing vessels under piracy laws. Soft power isn't e

      • Less Taiwan and more China. https://www.ft.com/content/e7b... [ft.com]
      • I agree entirely with you. I didn't know the Italians were at it too, but as a Pacific Islander am fully aware of the destruction being wrought by the Chinese and the Thais (among others).
        I am old enough to remember our Government (NZ) impounding a Vietnamese fishing boat, then auctioning it off because of illegal fishing (late 1970's). Although it was a stupid political stunt to boost the popularity of an unpopular government, and to brown-nose the Americans, it did stop the pirates for a while.
        We are
  • Jeremy Wade is more into freshwater, but I'm pretty sure he would approve of this. Do I speak out of turn?

    While I'm here using a supposed celebrity endorsement that is entirely of my own imagination, I think this is a move in a good direction. It does seem hard to count the fish accurately even with some major change like cancelling most fishing... the fish should be increasing in number, so any detrimental effects would be masked for a good while, right?

  • When asked for comment, a Japanese spokesperson said they were too busy stabbing whales and dolphins to death with sharp sticks to concern themselves with the Arctic Ocean.
  • Are we sure President Trump knows about this deal? I find it hard to believe he'd sign off on not exploiting a natural resource... any natural resources to the fullest of its extent.

  • I'm glad it was 16 years and not 15 or 17.

  • So now that they will have to eat farmed fish whether they like it or not, what happens?

    • Both of the people in northern Alaska will have to fish in the river or order their fish from southern Alaska, where the Gulf of Alaska can still be fished freely.

  • Theses are international waters. What prevents a ship from a non signatory nation to come and fish there?
  • "It's a great example of putting the precautionary principle into action."

    Which is a great example of what's wrong with government. The People reserve freedom unto themselves and not that they get on their knees to beg those in power for permission to do things.

    Government shouldn't be outlawing things without good reason, and the precautionary principle self-admittedly is not.

    It isn't up to free people to prove to those in power why they should be free to do somethimg.

    I will now await my downmod by those who want to hide challenges to their worldview. See my .sig.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

      Fairly incoherent to be honest.

      But yeah, I think I see what you're saying. Boo government, let the people fish the oceans until they are underwater deserts. Fish the oceans until you have full blown ecosystem collapse. That'll work out great. Libertarianism, yay.

  • in this paper i cover most of the wrongs industry has caused life on earth since the industrial revolution, and in the middle there is a long section on overfishing. just read about what really happens in the fishing industry when you digest news about some part of the ocean being "protected from fishing x years". if you've ever argued with fishing industry professionals when they are being told to cut it out, you know firsthand what a bunch of lying phoney bastards they are when it comes to the environment

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