“The Arctic region is warming, faster on average than the rest of the planet,” noted Ambassador David Balton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries, U.S. Department of State, in a March 2009 interview with FAO Radio of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
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More than 180 delegates from eight nations met in Anchorage Oct. 19-21, 2009 to discuss conservation of fish stocks and the potential for future fisheries management in the Arctic Ocean.
“For the first time in history, fisheries managers, diplomats and scientists joined to discuss fisheries and ecosystems in the circumpolar Arctic,” said Mead Treadwell, senior fellow at the Institute of the North and chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. “The conversation that begins here should never end. We need to arrive at a common scientific understanding of the interdependent resources in this region.”
With scientists, policy makers and stakeholders in attendance, the International Arctic Fisheries Symposium provided a forum to discuss the impact of climate change on fish stocks and the new accessibility to the central Arctic with ice retreat.
The conferees discussed possible common management regimes with special consideration for migratory, transboundary and straddling species; and heard concerns about subsistence issues.