More than 3 million years ago, the Arctic became a fish highway as species from the north Pacific Ocean spread through the Bering Strait and into the Arctic Ocean and then into the north Atlantic Ocean.

Now it's beginning to happen again.

A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that as climate change warms the Arctic over the next century, the natural ice barrier that has kept these two marine biotas separate will disappear, allowing fish from the Atlantic and Pacific to mix. This will create unknown consequences for fishing communities from Norway to Alaska, as well as the ecology of both regions.

Using predictive modeling, a group of international scientists across multiple fields showed that once ice melts and the interchange begins, changing oceanographic conditions like sea temperatures, salinity and currents will contribute to changes in the distribution of many commercial fish. Biodiversity is likely to explode in places like the Svalbard coast, the Barents Sea, the coasts of Iceland and the Alaskan coast.

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