The Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean an Overview
The Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean: An Overview
The central Arctic Ocean is one of the last remaining places on earth that is largely untouched by human activity. However, with the melting of the polar ice cap due to climate change, this remote region is becoming increasingly accessible, and there is a growing interest in exploiting its natural resources, including its fish stocks.
To address this concern, the five Arctic coastal states – Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States – along with China, Japan, Iceland, South Korea, and the European Union – signed the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean in 2018.
The agreement is a legally binding instrument that prohibits commercial fishing in the international waters of the central Arctic Ocean until scientific research has been conducted to better understand the region`s marine ecosystem and the potential impacts of fishing. This moratorium is in place for 16 years, with the possibility of extension.
While the agreement is an important step in protecting the Arctic ecosystem from overfishing, it is not without its challenges. Firstly, it is not a comprehensive agreement, as it only applies to the high seas areas of the central Arctic Ocean, leaving the coastal waters of Arctic states open to commercial fishing. Secondly, the agreement does not prevent new players from entering the region and launching unregulated fishing activities, as it is not a universal instrument. Thirdly, the lack of scientific data on the central Arctic Ocean makes it difficult to determine the potential impacts of commercial fishing.
To address these concerns, the signatories of the agreement have committed to working collaboratively to promote sustainable and science-based fishing practices, share information and data on the Arctic marine ecosystem, and promote capacity-building and knowledge-sharing among all stakeholders, including Arctic communities.
In conclusion, the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean is a significant step towards protecting the Arctic ecosystem from overfishing. However, more comprehensive measures are needed to address the challenges posed by commercial fishing in the region. It is essential for all stakeholders to work together to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Arctic marine ecosystem and the livelihoods of the people who depend on it.