OSLO, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Norway along with eight other countries and the European Union (EU) signed on Wednesday an international agreement to prevent unregulated and illegal fishing in the central Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian government announced.
"Unregulated illegal fishing is a major problem that weakens fish stocks worldwide. We need more of this type of agreements because it contributes to sustainable oceans and combating unregulated and illegal fishing," Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg was quoted as saying in a statement.
Signatories of the agreement are Norway, Russia, the United States, Canada, China, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, the EU and Denmark in respect of Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
The agreement includes an international sea area that is larger than the Mediterranean and it commits the participants to refrain from commercial fishing in the international part of the Arctic Ocean without binding regulations being in place.
Although most of the year large areas of the area are covered by ice, a significant reduction of ice is expected in summer in the years to come, the Norwegian government's statement said.
"If fish stocks migrate into these areas in the future, we are prepared. This is the precautionary principle in practice. The agreement is unique because it resolves a problem before it occurs, which is rare in international cooperation," said Norwegian Minister of Fisheries Harald T. Nesvik.
The agreement, which was reached in 2017, was signed Wednesday in Ilulissat, Greenland, according to Danish newspaper The Copenhagen Post.