Arctic News Roundup: 28 September – 4 October

[Photo by Marc Lanteigne]

by Mingming Shi

1) This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, humpback whales in Alaskan waters have enjoyed the vast spaces for themselves without cruise ships, as the Guardian reported. Usually, the tourism sector, including cruise ships, has contributed to the income of the region. However, as researchers explained, these human activities had also prompted local whale species to change their behaviours, including their methods of communication with each other.

2) As RÚV reported, the economy of Iceland is estimated to decline 8.6%, according to the latest macroeconomic forecast by Íslandsbanki. However, according to Jón Bjarki Bentsson, the Chief Economist of that financial institution, the economic performance of the country may still experience a relatively healthy recovery if a vaccine against COVID-19 is made available for the public before next summer, as quoted the Grapevine.

3) An editorial was published by the journal Nature which argued that a lack of cooperation amongst the Arctic states may further damage the regional climate, and adversely affect lives in the Arctic which are already vulnerable. The article also pointed to the potential problems caused by reduced cooperation by the United States in the Arctic Council, especially in the light of the upcoming US presidential election and Russia assuming the Chair of the Council next year.

4) This week, the Government of the United Kingdom announced that it had signed its first ever fisheries agreement, as an independent coastal state since the termination of its European Union membership, with Norway. Members of the EU are included in the organisation’s Common Fisheries Policy, which the UK is about to leave in December. Norway is also outside of the Union, and pursues its own independent fisheries policies, albeit with much contact with the EU.