The civilizations of northern Europe commercialized fishing, taking cod and herring in the seas off Norway and European Russia. During the past and recent years the Arctic and the Sub-Arctic was and will be a valuable food production area and has supplied over the years valuable nutrition for the south.
Historically the Arctic supported the urbanization of the south, providing the cities with oil from whale and shark products that was used for lamp posts, production of soap, and for lubrication of machinery of the industrial revolution.
Arctic fishermen and whalers of the past are long known for their overfishing and whaling. Oil was a valuable product and in high demand in the beginning of the industrial revolution.
The cod fisheries in the Canadian Grand Banks became available as soon as the vessels where good enough. Naturally fishing increased with better technology and the when exports were more frequent.
This even led to over fishing in the Arctic, especially in the Barents Sea and the northern Norwegian Sea, in the second half of the 20th century.
The fishing fleets in Norway and Russia turned to capelin but déjà vu, the stocks were overharvested in a few years.
Conservation measures have seen the stocks strengthened but the stock in the Barents Sea has gained ground again.
Around Iceland, a big fishing nation, the stocks have also collapsed but are not in any danger. Iceland still relies heavily in fishing, but not as much as before.
Fishing in the Bering Sea has come under scrutiny in recent years because of its potential involvement in
the decline in the number of Sea Otters and pinnipeds.
Historically, fishing for salmon species, herring and halibut have been important.
Visitors to south-western Alaska need only read the menu if a local restaurant to recognize that salmon and halibut are a source of local pride, and catching of those species are a popular tourist attraction.
Salmon fishing is also important in the Russian side of the sea as well as for Japanese trawlers.
In the 1970 and 1980s the fishing of the Walleye Pollock increased dramatically, with annual catches of up to 20 million tones eventually being recorded.
However catching then dropped sharply n the area, probably because of overfishing and the rise in water temperature.
Fisheries in the Arctic have changed significantly throughout the history where subsistence based fisheries have been the core value. The catch from the sea has made the Arctic and the Sub-Arctic area inhabitable due to the abundance of nutrition from both fishes and sea mammals. Those species made life in the cold bearable.
During the recent years, an understanding of the importance of the biodiversity in the Arctic has increased. Regulations, quotas and bans of fishing and hunting have been implemented in order to preserve the delicate Arctic environment.
een implemented in order to preserve the delicate Arctic environment.