At the ice edge

A new threat approaches the Arctic this summer but it goes much deeper than what meets the eye

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Where is it happening?

The Arctic is one of the world’s least explored ecosystems, sitting at the top of our planet. Life that has been sustained under the ice surrounding Svalbard, Norway is still a mystery to us. We as humans have walked on the moon but are still unfamiliar to what lies in the depths of the Arctic Ocean.

What’s happening?

As sea ice melts due to climate change, more and more of the frozen North is exposed. This means easy access to what’s long been protected under the ice. Recently, destructive fishing fleets have followed the receding ice and moved further and further north. They are now starting to push into the inaccessible areas of the Arctic that used to be covered by sea ice for most of the year.

Why should we care?

The destructive fishing fleets use bottom trawling - a method of fishing which involves dragging a trawl (a type of net) along the seabed, scraping an abundance of life from the depths of the ocean. Weighted with heavy metal rollers, the nets smash and crush everything, including centuries-old corals and other bottom fauna like sea-pens and sponges that give life, food and shelter to a vast numbers of species.

Who is responsible?

With climate change accelerating the loss of sea ice and no legislation to stop the advance of industrial exploitation into this vulnerable ecosystem, both the industry venturing north and the Norwegian government will ultimately be responsible for the future of this area.

What can we do?

But it’s not too late. The Arctic movement is growing every day and we can use the power of our movement to stand up for this fragile and unique ecosystem, and protect it before it’s lost. By highlighting that the lack of protection is exposing one of the world’s most amazing, unique places to devastation by destructive fishing fleets, we can make the urgent need for protection to decision makers around the world. By shining a light on this rare, magical ecosystem, we can help keep destructive fishing fleets away and convince the decision makers that this incredible place needs to be protected, forever.