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Executive Summary for July 15th

In this weekly roundup, we review and analyze the latest news and key developments in the Arctic, including an update to devolution talks in Nunavut and the ongoing negotiations over fishing in the central Arctic Ocean.

Published on July 15, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Fisheries Talks Progress

Delegations from 10 nations wrapped up fishing talks in Nunavut last week, optimistic that they would soon lead to an agreement ready for review by the fall, reported CBC News.

This is the third round of talks building on an agreement reached last July by five Arctic coastal nations – Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States. The Arctic nations hope to include other significant fishing nations in the agreement.

“I am very encouraged by the strong desire and willingness of all parties to take measures to prevent unregulated commercial high seas fishing in the central Arctic Ocean,” Karmenu Vella, the E.U. commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, said in a statement.

The E.U. believes commercial fishing should not take place in the Arctic high seas before a precautionary management approach can be put in place.

Conservation groups are concerned about the outcome of the meetings, CBC News reported. Trevor Taylor, the fisheries policy director at Oceans North Canada, told CBC that many countries hoped the agreement would be binding because it now includes non-Arctic nations.

The central Arctic Ocean is considered to be the high seas, an area in which anyone can fish, according to international law. Although the waters are inaccessible now – and there may not be commercially interesting fish stocks in place – as the sea ice melts, it is possible that unregulated fishing could occur there.

New Phase for Nunavut Devolution

Canada has appointed a new chief negotiator for the devolution of Nunavut, reported Nunatsiaq News.

Fred Caron will represent the government of Canada in its discussions with the government of Nunavut and the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. toward devolution – the transfer of authority of the territory from the federal government to the territorial government.

Formal negotiations began in 2014, and there were reports that a deal might be on the table before the end of 2015, according a story from the Globe and Mail. But the talks stalled in October 2015 during the federal election, reported CBC News.

“I look forward to negotiations that go beyond expectations that Nunavut’s devolution agreement has to mirror the precedent set in the Yukon or Northwest Territories. We need Nunavut solutions to Nunavut issues,” Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Cathy Towtongie said in a statement.

Nunavut is the only one of Canada’s three territories that does not have a devolution agreement in place. The deal would give the territory greater control over its resources and the royalties made from them.

Clouds Head to the Poles

Climate change has pushed cloud cover toward the planet’s poles, according to National Public Radio.

Climate scientists used two decades of satellite data to track cloud patterns around the globe and found that global warming had shifted clouds from the mid-latitudes toward the poles, according to the story.

Clouds are notoriously difficult to observe and to simulate in models, yet climate models had predicted these changes, says a report in Nature. The shift could expand the dry zone beyond the subtropics and send more storms to the Arctic.

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