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Analyse the reasons for and the consequences of the economic development of polar and sub-polar regions

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Introduction

Analyse the reasons for and the consequences of the economic development of polar and sub-polar regions Although indigenous populations established themselves centuries ago, polar and sub-polar regions of the Arctic and Antarctica have only fairly recently begun to develop. Originally classified as remote regions in the world, where the only activities, which took place, were small-scale fishing and hunting by locals in order to survive, they have become sources of great economic development and prosperity. Due to their proximity to many highly populated countries, Arctic regions have perhaps experienced greater economic development than Antarctic regions. The route of this economic development began during the 17th century, when indigenous people began to increase their contact with the outside world. For example, by 1700, trading had already begun with the Hudson Bay Company in Eastern Canada as people needed food and supplies to survive as their populations grew. However, economic development was really boosted when people started to exploit the wide ranges of minerals. The 'gold rushes' during the 1890s (when gold was discovered) brought in many prospectors into Arctic regions, which led to planned investments by large companies and governments in order to exploit the mineral. ...read more.

Middle

The tourism industry is increasing, going from its first cruise in 1964 to now receiving 10,000 visitors each year to come and see the penguins, seals and other wildlife and to go fishing. Fishing also became a major activity when soviet fleets started to do commercial fishing here in 1967. However, the discovery of seals (especially fur seals) and their wealth by Captain Cook in 1775, led to the introduction of the sealing industry, which brought in great profit for the economy. After 1840, the sealing industry was replaced by whales and whale processing stations, which also boosted the economy. These stations, located in Grytviken, have now been turned into outdoor museums as a source of tourism. Although it may not contribute much to the economy, following World War II, there was a significant rise in scientific research and a number of countries have set up year-round research stations, such as Chile, Britain and Australia. There is also a wide range of minerals here, including iron ore, chromium and platinum. Both Arctic regions and Antarctica suffer from the environmental consequences caused by economic development, such as overfishing, water and land pollution, as well as industrial related issues such as acidification and radioactivity in the Arctic region. ...read more.

Conclusion

On the other hand, however, there have been some beneficial consequences. For example, in Alaska, the increase in tourism meant that in 1999, tourism generated $658 million to its economy and employed 15,900 people and is the third largest industry in Alaska. Its fishing industry, which is the second largest after oil and gas, employs 13,000 people directly and another 9,200 in seafood processing. The concern for sustainability in all the polar and sub-polar regions has meant that many agreements have been made and conservation groups have been set up in order to protect and sustain the environment and the economies. For example, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) manages fishing quotas and policies in Prince William Sound to control overfishing. As world population increased, regions, especially densely populated countries with no or few resources of their own, needed to support growing populations, looked to polar and sub-polar regions for fishery development and resource exploitation, which consequently led to tourism. The results of these developments have both good and bad consequences; however, in order to retain their rich supply of resources and almost unharmed natural environments, sustainability must be a key factor in throughout the process of economic development. ...read more.

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