Native Village
Youth and Education news
January 2010 Volume 3

U.S. Closes Arctic Waters to Industrial Fishing
Condensed by Native Village

Alaska: The United States has closed 200,000 square miles of Arctic waters north of the Bering Strait to commercial fishing. This gives scientists more time to learn about the health of the Arctic Ocean's ecosystems.  It will also determine the impacts of large-scale fishing.

The regulations do not affect subsistence fishing. In fact, they are designed to protect these ecosystems central to subsistence. Conservationists are very pleased. They want a similar approach by other industries and nations.

“This is ‘doing it right’ in the Arctic—there is a desperate need for more science to be done before we add any more stress to an area already feeling the heat of climate change,” said Dr. Chris Krenz from Oceana.  “We need a rush of scientists into the Arctic, not an armada of cargo ships, oil platforms and fishing trawlers.”

These same U.S. Arctic waters now face the invading oil industry. Plans have been approved for drilling in the Beaufort Sea next summer. A similar plan is under review for the Chukchi Sea.  Scientists, local communities, and others want a science-based approach and regulations for oil drilling. They point to higher risks of oil spills in the Arctic, and the inability to contain, control or clean up an accident in icy waters .

The Arctic is home to thousands of people. Healthy ocean ecosystems are central to their history, culture, and  subsistence way of life.  Climate and ocean changes places enough stress on these ecosystems. The fishing or oil and gas activities could push them past the brink.  

Arctic communities strongly support the Arctic fishing protections. Now they worry that oil and gas activities -- including seismic testing and oil spills risks -- will affect the bowhead whales and other animals vital to their food supply.

"MMS [Minerals Management Service] will begin drilling in the U.S. Arctic Ocean next July using the same inadequate and out of date science that led fisheries managers to close the region to commercial fishing,” said Krenz.  “One of the reasons Americans elected President Obama is because they believe in sustainable development based on sound science and demonstrated response capabilities.  MMS and Shell continue on an unrelenting course that MMS records indicate are likely to bring a major spill and calamity to the Arctic.”

The U.S. State Department and other Arctic nations may expand the U.S. Arctic fishing protections across international boundaries.  This would set a worldwide precedent of putting management in place before commercial fishing occurs.

Previous Story      Next Story
Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3 Volume 4

Native Village Home Page

Backgrounds: Robert Kaufman Fabrics:

NATIVE VILLAGE website was created for youth, educators, families, and friends who wish to celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of The Americas' First Peoples. We offer readers two monthly publications: NATIVE VILLAGE Youth and Education News and NATIVE VILLAGE Opportunities and Websites.  Each issue shares today's happenings in Indian country.
Native Village is responsible for format changes.
Articles may also include additional photos, art, and graphics which enhance the visual appeal and and adds new dimensions to the articles. Each is free or credited by right-clicking the picture, a page posting, or appears with the original article. 
Our hopes are to make the news as informative, educational, enjoyable as possible.
NATIVE VILLAGE also houses website libraries and learning circles  to enrich all lives on Turtle Island.
Please visit, and sign up for our update reminders. We are always glad to make new friends!