Today’s the comment deadline for an Obama administration proposal to close virtually the entire U.S. portion of the Arctic Ocean to commercial fishing. We were reminded of this by Marilyn Heiman of Oceans North, a new Pew-funded effort to protect, well, northern oceans. Heiman writes:
If approved, the plan will be the first major move by a government to protect an entire marine ecosystem before commercial fishing takes place.
As Datetline Earth has discussed before, global warming is going gangbusters in the Arctic. It looks like we could see an ice-free summer there in the next decade.
The Arctic Fishery Management Plan that Commerce Secretary Gary Locke (still feels weird to type that instead of “Washington Gov.”) is considering has the support of both Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and her Democratic compatriot from Alaska, Mark Begich.
Heiman says the effort has the support of the Alaska fishing industry, fishery managers, conservation groups and Arctic community leaders. So it looks like the proposal will be adopted. If you’d like to c0mment, go here. If you’d like to learn more first, the proposal was covered by NPR, The New York Times and Scientific American. Here is the way Oceana, another Pew-funded group, looks at the issue.