Amazing news! Today an entire industry including major global brands McDonald’sTescoYoung’s Seafood and Iglo agreed to push back against destruction of our pristine Arctic waters.

The Hornsund Fjord on Svalbard/Spitzbergen. 11 Feb, 2008 © Bernd Roemmelt / Greenpeace

Together with the Norwegian Fishing Vessel Owners Association, Fiskebåt, which represents the entire Norwegian oceangoing fishing fleet, Russian Karat Group including Ocean Trawlers and Europe’s largest processor of frozen fish, Espersen, these brands are saying “no” to the further expansion of cod fishing into the previously-frozen Northern Barents Sea.  

This is huge. Never before has an industry stood up for Arctic protection and YOU made this possible. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world took action against bottom trawling in the Arctic — to stop heavy nets scraping marine life from the seabed. Today’s announcement shows how we can create real change by acting together.

So what does this mean?

We are witnessing a truly important moment when global brands in the fishing industry start to say “no” to Arctic destruction and agree to prevent fishing fleets from expanding their search for cod into sensitive and previously ice-covered areas in a region twice the size of France.

Fishing industry moratorium on expansion of cod fishing in the Arctic © Greenpeace

There’s now a self-imposed industry-wide moratorium on the expansion of bottom trawling in one of the most unique ecosystems on the planet. Vulnerable animals, including the polar bear, bowhead whale and Greenland shark are now one step closer to safety from harm.

But our work is not over yet. Long-term Arctic protection is going to need commitment from the government. Let’s use this momentum to ramp up pressure on Norway’s Environment Minister, Vidar Helgesen, to follow the seafood industry’s lead and create a Marine Protected Area that is off limits to all extractive industries.

Call on the Norwegian government now to protect this truly unique and vulnerable area. It’s high time they acknowledge the growing demand to protect the fragile Arctic environment, not only from millions of individuals but also from the industry.

The Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, will be in the Arctic this summer to see that the fishing industry lives up to its commitments and to make sure that the Norwegian government follows this corporate initiative with firm legal protection.