Climate change extends Arctic fishing
Last Updated: Monday, October 25, 2010 | 3:18 PM CT
Officials in Nunavut's Baffin Island fishery say climate change has benefited their business somewhat, thanks to longer fishing seasons in recent years.
The Baffin Fisheries Coalition says its turbot and shrimp fishing seasons have lengthened dramatically in the past decade because of a warming Arctic climate.
"Of course it's a concern, but there are pluses and minuses to everything, I guess. From a fishing perspective, I'm not concerned — I'm very excited. It's very positive," Jerry Ward, the coalition's chief operating officer, told CBC News.
Off the northern coast of Baffin Island, the fishing season started about a month earlier than it would have 10 years ago. Ward said the same changes have applied off southern Baffin Island, which saw a record 10-month-long season in 2007.
"It's a good thing because if you start earlier, you take the uncertainty out of your business from the planning perspective," he said. "These are large vessels, and we find something else for them to do in the winter months."
Ward said the coalition has also seen more capelin fish that could lure more cod and other larger fish farther north. Overall, the ability to stay out on the water longer can mean fishing crews can meet their turbot and shrimp quotas faster, he said.
At the same time, Ward said there are numerous downsides to climate change in the North, as there have been more severe thunderstorms that would create dangerous fishing conditions. As well, he said climate change has created hazards for Inuit living on Baffin Island.
"From a traditional way of life, from an Inuit perspective, it is of major concern because of the breaking up of the ice and that sort of thing, and the danger of travelling on the ice, and so on," he said.
Concerns in Nunavut about warming air temperatures, receding sea ice and record-low snowfall have been backed up by a report released last week by an international team of climate scientists.
The new Arctic Report Card, released Thursday, "tells a story of widespread, continued and even dramatic effects of a warming Arctic," said Jackie Richter-Menge of the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility.
"This isn't just a climatological effect. It impacts the people that live there," she added.
'Running for the hills'
The Arctic Report Card says warming has taken place at a near-record pace in the first half of 2010, with monthly readings over 4 C above normal in Northern Canada.
Atmospheric scientists concerned about global warming have focused on the Arctic because that is a region where some effects are expected to be felt first.
"One thing we have to face up to is that rates of sea-level rise are probably going to be increasing into the future and ultimately, for some people, that is going to mean running for the hills, literally," Martin Sharp, a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at the University of Alberta, told CBC News.
"When they run, of course, they have to go somewhere else, so there are also implications for the communities that have to accommodate refugees."
Sharp, one of several Canadian contributors to the Arctic Report Card, said the findings could focus more scientific and political attention on the Canadian Arctic.With files from The Associated Press
Latest North News Headlines
- MMA fighter gets jail for assaulting ex-girlfriend
- A Yellowknife mixed martial arts fighter has been sentenced to four months in jail for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. more »
- Nunavut government is now less accountable, says professor
- A University of Toronto professor says the Nunavut government seems to be taking a step backwards when it comes to transparency and accountability, due to recent changes to the territory's Integrity Act. more »
- Arctic bacteria discovered breeding at record –15 C
- Bacteria that can live and multiply in High Arctic permafrost at temperatures well below the freezing point of water have been discovered by a Canadian-led team of researchers, offering clues about the types of organisms that might exist in similar extreme environments elsewhere in our solar system. more »
- Quebec Crees want foresting company's certificate revoked
- The Cree Regional Authority of Quebec wants a company's Forest Stewardship Council certification revoked after it says the company violated an agreement by clear-cutting an area of forest. more »
Top News Headlines
- Harper 'not consulted' about Duffy Senate expense repayment
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that not only did he not know about his chief of staff's "gift" to repay Senator Mike Duffy's expenses before the story broke in the media, he was not consulted and did not sign off on Nigel Wright's decision to write a personal cheque. more »
- 2 infants confirmed among dead of Oklahoma tornado
- Rescue workers raced to complete the search for survivors and the dead in the Oklahoma City suburb where a mammoth tornado destroyed countless homes, cleared lots down to bare red earth and claimed 24 lives, including those of 10 children. more »
- Mayor Ford stays silent while his brother defends him
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford continues to stonewall the media over allegations that he was recorded on video smoking what appears to be crack cocaine, but his brother Coun. Doug Ford told reporters Wednesday that the story is untrue. more »
- 'You will see him again in heaven,' Sharlene Bosma tells daughter
- Sharlene Bosma told more than 1,000 people at the public memorial service for her slain husband, Tim Bosma, about the love they shared. more »
- Yukon couple hold record for longest marriage in country
- Police search for missing Fort Resolution, N.W.T., woman
- Thieves nab stuffed wolves, lynx from Yellowknife business
- Daycare owner failed to prevent sex harassment, says tribunal
- 'Suicide contagion' spreads after schoolmate death
- Northerners struggle with new temporary foreign worker rules
- 2 climbers rescued off Yukon mountain after 5 days
- Iqaluit court prepares for re-trial of convicted murderer
- Search called off for missing Nunavut elder