FILE PHOTO: A fishing boat is seen near the arctic community of Pond Inlet, Nunavut August 23, 2014. Picture taken August 23, 2014. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Delegations from the United States, Russia, and China and other countries struck a deal on Thursday to refrain from commercial fishing in the high Arctic seas, one of world’s fastest-warming places, until scientists can determine what fish are there and whether they can be harvested sustainably.
Once signed by the governments of all the parties, the agreement will protect an area of the central Arctic Ocean roughly the size of the Mediterranean Sea, for at least 16 years.
While commercial fishing has not yet occurred in the area, the world’s hunger for fish protein is rising and both Arctic and non-Arctic nations are angling to develop natural resources in the region as global warming opens shipping lanes. Waters in the region were once frozen year round.
“This is one of the rare times when a group of governments actually solved a problem before it …
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