No fishing allowed

Obama administration makes some Arctic waters off limits

Federal officials have prohibited commercial fishing in an Arctic region larger than California.

The management plan by the Obama administration is aimed at protecting a portion—150,000 square nautical miles—of fragile ocean north of the Bering Strait, reported The New York Times.

While these U.S. waters aren’t a hotspot for fisheries at this time, feds say they expect interest in the area to grow as the waters warm, forcing fish and other marine life into the region. Scientists say the Arctic is warming faster than any other place on the planet.

“As Arctic sea ice recedes due to climate change, there is increasing interest in commercial fishing in Arctic waters,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement. “We are in a position to plan for sustainable fishing that does not damage the overall health of this fragile ecosystem.”