The Arctic Council released the “surprising” results of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program at a conference in Montreal.
The report said that Arctic marine species have increased overall, driven by rising mammal populations and “dramatic increases” in fish populations.
Those numbers appear to have leveled off, and marine birds have undergone a steady decline since 1998.
The report says this “may be related to changes in climate, sea ice and food availability” and may be the beginning of a longer-term decline.
Some mammals were found to be recovering from centuries of exploitation, but rising populations of gray whales, bowhead whales and Greenlandic walruses have not returned to historical levels, the report says.
Photo: U.S. Geological Survey