North Pole's sea ice could disappear within 30 years

  • 15/10/2016
North Pole's sea ice could disappear within 30 years

This year stands a good chance of beating 2015 as the warmest year on record.

Nowhere has felt the effects of the record temperatures more than the Arctic.

It's feared that if carbon emissions don't stop increasing, the permanent sea ice at the North Pole could disappear completely within 30 years.

There's plenty of fish in the north Barents Sea. The cold waters of the Norwegian high arctic are some of the world's most productive and well-managed fisheries.

For Norway's economy, fish are second only to oil and gas. The UK is its biggest customer. Up to 70 percent of the cod and haddock eaten in the UK comes from there.

A few miles off the Svalbard Islands, Norwegian coastguard vessels are on fisheries patrol. The teams have carried out 2000 fisheries inspections this year, going ship to ship in waters just a degree or two above freezing.

They check the fishing gear is legal, and that vulnerable stocks aren't being overfished.

While most of the world's oceans have been overfished, cod haddock and prawns from the Barents Sea are all certified as sustainable.

Norway claims its rigorous policing helps keep it that way, but the ocean is changing. The fjords west of Svalbard used to freeze over completely in winter. Now they haven't for years.

Trawlers have moved into areas once covered in polar ice.

It's the same story across the arctic. This year, sea ice melted to its second lowest extent since satellite records began - 2 million square kilometres less ice, and 2 million square kilometres more sea.

Earlier this year Greenpeace persuaded the fishing industry to stop catching cod and haddock in newly ice-free areas.

But with highly valuable cod and haddock stocks moving north with warming waters, Norway's trawler men are now challenging the moratorium they signed, trying to demonstrate fishing in new parts of the ocean can be sustainable.

Watch the video for the full ITV News report.

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