The Arctic Ocean is facing changes unparalleled on the planet. Over the last 100 years, the Arctic has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Since the 1950s, an area of sea ice about half as big as the land area of the United States has been lost.
Species such as Polar Bears, Walrus, Spectacled Eiders, Bowhead whale, Steller sea lions and North Pacific Right Whale are facing population declines and most are already listed under the Endangered Species Act.
Currently, there are no commercial fisheries north of the Bering Strait. But the rapid loss of sea ice is creating the potential for commercial fisheries in the Arctic Ocean. If allowed, commercial fishing may harm important habitat and could directly harm marine mammals – not to mention compete with subsistence users who depend on the marine environment to survive.
The rapid reduction in the northern sea ice will not only bring enormous change to the Arctic marine ecosystem, retreating sea ice will also create vast new territory for unprecedented oil and gas drilling and industrial shipping and fishing.
It is important that we develop a careful science-based approach for this fragile environment. Please sign our petition urging the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to close the Arctic to commercial fishing – unless and until it can be shown that commercial fishing can occur without harming the health of the marine ecosystem.
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