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Arctic Fisheries Conservation and Management: Initial Steps of Reform of the International Legal Framework

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AbstractThe dramatic impacts that global climate change are expected to have in the future also extend to Arctic marine capture fisheries. Arctic marine ecosystems will change in various ways and this is among other things likely to create new or expanded fishing opportunities. This article assesses the adequacy of the current international legal and policy framework for Arctic fisheries conservation and management – both substantively and institutionally – in responding to the likely and potential impacts that such new or expanded fishing opportunities could have on target and nontarget species, the broader marine ecosystem and the livelihoods of indigenous peoples. The overview of the international legal and policy framework that is offered in this article is followed by the identification of gaps in this framework and in national regulation, and of options for addressing them. These options include increased efforts in the sphere of research and data gathering, bilateral fisheries management arrangements between Arctic Ocean coastal states, a declaration on new and existing fisheries in the Arctic Ocean and a state-of-the-art regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO) or Arrangement. Finally, some observations are made on integrated, cross-sectoral ecosystem-based oceans management.

Affiliations: 1: Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS), Utrecht UniversityFaculty of Law, University of Tromsø


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