Commercial fishing is becoming a big business at the top of the earth, and as you’ve probably heard, commercial fishing usually ain’t exactly the greatest thing for fish. But nine nations and the European Union just agreed to ban commercial fishing in the Arctic Ocean for at least the next 16 years. They’re doing it so that researchers can better study the ecology of the area, which, if you’re a believer in facts, at least, is thawing really, really fast.
In 2012, NASA reported that the amount of ice covering the Arctic Ocean hit its lowest level in three decades. Since the water is warmer and the ocean is expanding, more fish are moving in. That, of course, is a real boon for the fishing industry–more fish and less ice means more opportunity. “In the past, when new patches of fish were discovered,” wrote Rod Fujita, director of research and development for the Environmental Defence Fund’s Oceans program, “they have been rapidly exploited, and sometimes overexploited.”