Poleward shifts in marine fisheries under Arctic warming
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionEnvironmental Research Letters. 2021, 16 (7), 1-12. 10.1088/1748-9326/ac1010
As global warming makes the Arctic Ocean more accessible, concerns have been raised about the environmental consequences of a possible expansion of commercial fisheries into pristine marine ecosystems. Using a recently released global dataset, we quantify for the first time how fishing activities are responding to diminishing sea ice and a warmer Arctic Ocean. We show that trawling dominates Arctic fisheries and that this activity penetrates rapidly into Arctic shelf areas previously protected by extensive ice-cover as a response to interannual sea ice loss. We model the development of trawling activity under a climate change scenario and use the model to identify areas with high risk of increased trawling activity and estimate the amount of trawling avoided in recently established fishery protection zones. Stronger responsibility must be undertaken by Arctic coastal states to regulate increased fishing pressure and protect vulnerable Arctic shelf ecosystems.