As the Arctic sea ice melts new, huge areas open, making commercial fisheries in this area viable for the first time in human history. That the center of the Arctic Ocean was unregulated was hardly a concern when it was an icebound backwater.
The waters of the Arctic Ocean encompass an area as big as the Mediterranean Sea and are not currently governed by any international fisheries agreements. Such an agreement is needed to close this region to commercial fishing unless and until scientific knowledge and management measures can ensure a sustainable fishery.
Diplomats and fisheries officials from Norway, Denmark, Canada, the United States and Russia will meet in Washington on April 29 to discuss the issue. Russia had been a holdout in the negotiations, started by the United States five years ago. But last year the Federation Council signaled support for the agreement, New York Times reports.
If an agreement is made, it will represent the third such accord struck by countries in the far north to manage the commercial development and industrialization of the region, which is expected to increase with global warming. The other two agreements reached so far regulate oil spill response and search and rescue.