The Central Arctic Ocean is characterized by a lack of knowledge on fish stocks and ecosystems, which is required for science-based and ecosystem-based fisheries management. There is also scientific uncertainty as to how fish populations will respond to changing water temperatures and ice conditions.
Within the coastal State maritime zones in this area, there are currently mainly small-scale subsistence fisheries and no significant commercial fisheries. In 2009, the United States prohibited commercial fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone off the coast of Alaska in the Arctic Ocean until information improves so that fishing can be conducted sustainably and with due concern to other ecosystem components.
Due to the near constant presence of sea ice and limited amount of fish in the area, no fisheries have yet taken place in the high seas portion of the Central Arctic Ocean. However, with the impacts of climate change, ocean warming and ice melting, commercially attractive species may move northward into the area in the near future. In addition, species indigenous to this area may be considered commercially attractive once they become accessible.
There are different views on whether, in the short term, abundance of fish stocks in the area will allow for commercially viable fisheries. Nevertheless, it is important that relevant States react to these changing environmental circumstances in good time and regulate potential future fisheries in the area.
In February 2014, five States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States (the so-called “Arctic Five”), took the view that large-scale, commercially viable fisheries in the high seas area were unlikely to occur in the near future. However, this expectation has not prevented the “Arctic Five” and other States from engaging in multilateral discussions on such fisheries.
This article first addresses very briefly the general legal framework for the Central Arctic Ocean. It then describes the legal framework for high seas fisheries in this area, in particular the relevant provisions of the 1995 un Fish Stocks Agreement and how they relate to this area. Finally, the article addresses the cooperation of relevant States
Edited by Myron H. Nordquist, John Norton Moore and Tomas Heidar
Edited by Myron Nordquist, John Norton Moore and Tomas H. Heidar
Changes in the Arctic Environment and the Law of the Sea offers policy and legal guidance in response to these new challenges. Synthesizing the presentations of leading experts at "Changes in the Arctic Environment and the Law of the Sea" meeting held in May, 2009 in Seward, Alaska, the topics explored in this volume include the political context and scientific background, marine transport, environment and biodiversity, in addition to offshore petroleum and the status of Spitsbergen. A list of selected Internet resources provides links for additional websites, as well as PowerPoint files from presentations given at the meeting.
Changes in the Arctic Environment and the Law of the Sea is based on the 33rd Annual Conference of the Center for Oceans Law and Policy, a primary sponsor, along with the Law of the Sea Institute of Iceland as well as with the U.S. Arctic Commission, the University of Alaska (Fairbanks) and the Law of the Sea Institute, Law School (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley.
Edited by Myron Nordquist, Ronán Long, Tomas Heidar and John Norton Moore
This book contains the proceedings from the thirtieth annual conference of the Center for Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia School of Law, which marked the tenth anniversary of Ireland’s ratification of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.