Understanding Arctic Co-Management: The U.S. Marine Mammal Approach

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online
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  • 1 Ocean Program, Environmental Law Institute and Academic Coordinator & Lecturer, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • 2 Environmental Law Institute
  • 3 Chesapeake Legal Alliance and Visiting Attorney, Environmental Law Institute

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Co-management is an effective tool through which Alaska Native communities can pursue self-governance and self-determination in regards to marine mammal resources. In the Arctic, co-management typically aims to promote environmental conservation, sustainable resource use, and equitable sharing of resource-related benefits and responsibilities. This paper traces a variety of co-management regimes and other international management frameworks, and posits that co-management of subsistence resources is not just a legal issue or a governance issue, but rather, it is an issue of human rights and environmental justice. It concludes that co-management regimes are most successful when they integrate frameworks for shared responsibility, and build long-term relationships on mutual trust and strong legal agreements.

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