Ice cover on Arctic waters. (Photo Credit: NOAA)
Coastal States Reach Agreement on Arctic fisheries management
Monday, March 03, 2014, 04:30 (GMT + 9)
After three days of talks in Nuuk, representatives from Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States reached an agreement to establish a temporary ban on fishing in the central Arctic.
The measure will be in force until the appropriate regulatory system is enacted.
The melting of the ice in the central Arctic Ocean, opening new possibilities and fishing areas, challenged these nations to join efforts.
Canada, the U.S. and Denmark were backing the fishing ban. However, Norway and Russia had different views.
Notwithstanding, the five Arctic coastal States have now taken the responsibility to manage any new accesses to resources in a responsible manner.
“We are very pleased that Canada and the four other Arctic Ocean Coastal States were able to support a temporary prohibition of commercial fishing in the high seas of the central Arctic Ocean. More scientific investigation is required to determine whether fishing in this area can be commercially viable,” the Canadian government said in an interministerial press release.
So far, each of the five coastal States manages its own EEZ’s, leaving as much as 40 per cent of the arctic ice cover, which melts during part year allowing unregulated fishing, free from management regulations for fisheries.
Greenland's minister of hunting, fisheries and agriculture, Finn Karlsen welcomed the agreement.
“We have here a unique possibility to prevent illegal and unregulated fishery by, in advance, taking on a precautionary approach in managing any new fishery resources,” he stressed.
Thus far, very little is known about fish stocks in the area and how quickly they reproduce.
The concerned countries also agreed to promote scientific research and to integrate scientific knowledge with traditional and local knowledge.
They also plan to hold a third scientific meeting no later than the end of 2015.