Arctic Sea Partly Closed to Fishing

A federal fishery panel voted Thursday to close off a large swath of the Arctic sea to commercial fishing.

The move was a pre-emptive measure to protect more than 150,000 square nautical miles north of the Bering Strait that have become more accessible as a result of the warming Arctic climate.

The unanimous vote was unusual in that it was largely supported by industry and conservation groups alike and because it was the first time the United States had acted to close a fishery as a result of climate change instead of in reaction to overfishing, proponents of the measure said.

Jim Ayers, a vice president of Oceana, an international marine conservation group based in Washington, who worked on negotiating the ban for the last several years, said,