PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Even though Maine is 1,500 miles south of the Arctic Circle, experts in the area have picked Portland as the site for this year's Arctic Forum.

Senator Angus King spoke at the opening ceremony of the forum Monday morning and discussed issues affecting the Arctic and how they pertain to Maine.

About 250 people attended Monday's meeting at the University of Southern Maine. Senator King has repeatedly pushed for the U.S. to do more in the Arctic including increasing security, protecting the environment and trade.

King said, "There's going to be an ability to transition from Asia to the nothern and eastern part of the U.S. We're the first ports they'll get to. That's not right away, I think it's important to distinguish between that and the fact that were now trading, with Eimskip here in Portland, with all of northern Europe. That's a big opportunity, it's growing, the port of Portland is growing 25 percent a year, so I am looking at immediate impacts, but also long range opportunities."

Members of the U.S. Arctic council will continue to hold meetings in Maine until October 6.