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Central Arctic Ocean

Also known as the “Arctic Donut Hole,” this region lies within the High Seas beyond national jurisdiction and spans approximately 2.8 million square kilometers (about the size of the Mediterranean Sea). It's bordered by waters controlled by the United States, Norway, Russia, Greenland and Canada, and is the only remaining place free from the impacts of commercial fishing in the high seas of the Arctic. Its waters are currently nutrient-poor, making the region slow to recover from destructive activities like overfishing and climate change. The removal of fish could threaten wildlife such as ringed seals and beluga whales dependent on the fish, as well as polar bears—also indirectly dependent on the fish. However, conservation is in the works: in December 2017, 10 countries reached an agreement to prevent the start of commercial fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO) for a minimum of 16 years to allow for scientists to conduct research on the effects of climate change.

Protected Species

Beluga Whales Polar Bears Ringed Seals
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