Regulating Fishing in the Arctic Ocean

On November 30, 10 nations reached an agreement that will put the high seas in the central Arctic Ocean off limits to commercial fishing for a considerable period of time. The agreement pertains to the 2.8 million square kilometer area that is beyond national jurisdiction, an area larger than the Mediterranean.
The High North coast and fisheries states have finally come to an agreement on unregulated fisheries in the Arctic Ocean.

The High North coast and fisheries states have finally come to an agreement on unregulated fisheries in the Arctic Ocean.

- I am glad the parties now have agreed to an agreement against unregulated fisheries in the Arctic Ocean and strengthened research cooperation. The agreement is vital for managing the ocean around the North Pole and contributes to the global work for preventing unregulated fisheries, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide, says in a press statement.

The five Arctic coastal states; Norway, Russia, the USA, Canada and Denmark/Greenland/the Faroe Islands, and the long-distance fishing actors China, Japan, South Korea, Iceland and the EU oblige to refrain from potential future unregulated fisheries in the international part of the Arctic Ocean.

Extended research cooperation

During a final negotiation meeting in Washington earlier this week the parties succeeded in reaching an agreement, one that also facilitates research cooperation in order to monitor the development of fish stocks and ecosystems in the coming years.

This will be vital in monitoring the consequences of the climate changes for ecosystems in the Arctic Ocean.

Norwegian Minister of Fisheries Per Sandberg (the Progress Party) emphasizes the significance of the research cooperation.

Not likely quite yet

- This will be long-term work that contributes with important knowledge about the development in the Arctic Ocean, says Sandberg. He adds that it is not likely that commercial fisheries will take place in these parts of the Arctic Ocean anytime soon.

- The parties agree that there is no need to establish a new regional fisheries management organisation now.

The Agreeement includes key countries in its work and that will contribute to strengthening knowledge of the developments of the Arctic Ocean, so that we are prepared should fish stocks migrate into this area, says Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg.

Knowledge for further work

The Fisheries Minister also emphasizes that this will be knowledge that Norway can bring into the work of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) if regulating and operating commercial fishing in the NEAFC management areas north of national zones were to become an issue.

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