Episode 14 - The Marine Arctic: What Role For Law When The Ice Recedes?


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The fourteenth episode of the Ocean Governance Podcast is dedicated to governance of the marine Arctic and its resources. To discuss this topic, Aron and David are joined by Gabriela Argüello who as a post doc at the School of Business Economics and Law at Gothenburg university studies Arctic governance from a legal and institutional perspective. The Arctic is subject to much political as well as scholarly attention and increasing levels of human activities. This applies not least to many marine areas in the Arctic which are becoming increasingly attractive due to climate change and a receding ice cover. This opens for shipping and fishing in areas where such activities have hardly been possible before. Increased access to previously unexploited areas gives rise to many challenges, including how fragile Arctic ecosystems can be protected against pollution and resource depletion. Although much of the marine Arctic falls under the national jurisdiction of the five Arctic coastal states (Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, Russia, and the United States) there are still large areas, including the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO) that count as areas beyond national jurisdiction. In respect to these areas, is it urgent to ensure that new opportunities for resource utilisation do not result in an unregulated race to capture as much as possible of resources of which little is still known. Against this backdrop, the 2018 Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Arctic Fisheries, entered into by the five arctic coastal states and some important non-Arctic states as well as the European Union is a promising sign that states are able to pursue common long-term interests in the Arctic. In no way, however, does it mean that all the legal and political challenges associated with ensuring a sustainable and precautious approach to Arctic resource management have been overcome. The episode discusses two recent articles that look at this situation from slightly different perspectives, providing important pieces of knowledge to understand the increasingly complex jigsaw puzzle of Arctic marine governance. The articles discussed in this episode are: Y. Tanaka, Changing Paradigms in the Law of the Sea and the Marine Arctic, 35:3 The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law (2020), 439–467, doi.org/10.1163/15718085-BJA10012 A. N. Vylegzhanin, O. R. Young, P. A. Berkman, The Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries Agreement as an element in the evolving Arctic Ocean governance complex, 118 Marine Policy (2020), 104001, doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2020.104001. If you want to comment on the content or otherwise communicate with us, please do so by sending an email to: aron.westholm@law.gu.se. We hope that you will enjoy listening!

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