Feds halt fishing expansion in Arctic

Aug. 21, 2009 at 2:49 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. government won't allow commercial fishing to expand in federal Arctic waters until more is known about climate change, authorities said.

Climate change is causing the Arctic sea ice to recede, opening more water and prompting an interest in expanded fishing, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said Friday.

"We are in a position to plan for sustainable fishing that does not damage the overall health of this fragile ecosystem," Locke said. "This plan takes a precautionary approach to any development of commercial fishing in an area where there has been none in the past."

Arctic cod, saffron cod and snow crab are the species that most likely would be targeted by commercial fishing operations in the region, Locke said.

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