Fisheries Enforcement on the High Seas of the Arctic Ocean: Gaps, Solutions and the Potential Contribution of the European Union and Its Member States

In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
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  • 1 Post-doctoral Researcher in Law of the Sea, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, Oxford Martin Fellow, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

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Although there is no fishing activity within the central Arctic Ocean at present, commercial fishing activity does occur in the high seas areas of the North Atlantic and North Pacific, and within the exclusive economic zone of the Arctic coastal States. Climate change will most probably lead to an increase in fishing activity, through the reduction in sea ice, opening up new areas of the Arctic to fisheries, including the Central Arctic Ocean. This prospect has fuelled intensive negotiations—still ongoing—for the signing of a legally binding agreement to prevent unregulated fisheries therein. What seems missing, though, from both the ongoing negotiations on this agreement and the scholarly literature is reference to fisheries enforcement in the Arctic. Accordingly, this article identifies the most effective tools that could be employed for fisheries enforcement purposes, including port and flag State measures, and addresses their potential application in the Arctic.