Canada ratifies agreement blocking commercial fishing in the High Arctic

first_imgThe Canadian Press OTTAWA — Canada has ratified an agreement that would prevent commercial fishing in the High Arctic for 16 years.The deal was initially signed last October by Canada and nine other governments but won’t be enforceable until all parties ratify the agreement. The governments that have signed the agreement include Norway, the United States, China, Iceland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Denmark in respect to Greenland and the Faroe Islands, but it has been ratified only by Canada, the European Union, and the Russian Federation.The agreement applies to northern waters at least 200 nautical miles away from the shores of any coastal state, which amounts to 2.8 million square kilometres of ocean, about the size of the Mediterranean Sea.It also provides for the participation and inclusion of Arctic Indigenous Peoples and their communities, recognizing the critical value of their local knowledge in the conservation of the Arctic Ocean.No commercial fishing currently takes place in the High Arctic, but fish stocks are shifting and fishers and scientists have wondered what the northernmost seas on the planet hold.Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says Canada is leading the way to protect the oceans, combat illegal fishing and help protect the Arctic’s fragile ecosystems for future generations.last_img