Several readers share a : Nine nations and the European Union have reached a deal to place the central Arctic Ocean (CAO) off-limits to commercial fishers for at least the next 16 years. The pact, announced last week, will give scientists time to understand the region’s marine ecology — and the potential impacts of climate change — before fishing becomes widespread. “There is no other high seas area where we’ve decided to do the science ,” says Scott Highleyman, vice president of conservation policy and programs at the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C., who also served on the U.S. to the negotiations. “It’s a great example of putting the precautionary principle into action.” The deal to protect 2.8 square kilometers of international waters in the Arctic was reached after six meetings spread over 2 years. It includes not just nations with coastal claims in the Arctic, but nations such as , Japan, and South Korea with fishing fleets interested in operating in the region.

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