NEWS: Around the Arctic April 23, 2012 - 12:26 pm

Arctic fish and marine mammal populations up, birds down: report

Report sees "dramatic increases" in fish populations


MONTREAL — Arctic marine mammals, fish, and birds are undergoing some “surprising” trends that, in some instances, can be partially linked to climate variations and changes in commercial harvest, states a new report released by the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program.

Among the findings of the report, released April 23 at the International Polar Year conference in Montreal:

• Arctic marine species have increased overall, driven by rising mammal populations and “dramatic increases” in fish populations;

• overall, marine mammals increased across all ocean regions, levelling off in the mid-1990s;

•  marine birds slowly increased until the mid-1980s, then in 1998 began a slow and steady decline, which may be the beginning of a longer-term decline. “It will be important to monitor this over the coming years;” and,

• three of the nine sea-ice associated species showed declines, ringed seals, belugas, and thick-billed guillemots.

For more detailed information go to the website of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, the Arctic Council’s biodiversity working group, where you can download the report.