094/18/Gen.Inf.International agreement to prevent illegal fishing in Arctic

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Five Arctic states, including Canada, Denmark -in respect of Greenland and the Faroe Islands-, Norway, Russia, and the United States have reached a historic agreement in principle, to prevent unregulated commercial fishing in the high seas of the central Arctic Ocean.

It’s the first time an international agreement of this magnitude has been reached before any commercial fishing takes place on a region of the high seas, said Dominic LeBlanc, Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Under this legally binding agreement, all Parties agree that no commercial fishing will take place in the high seas portion of the central Arctic Ocean, while gaining a better understanding of the area’s ecosystems, through a program of joint scientific research, to establish appropriate management measures.

The five Arctic Ocean coastal States have worked closely, leading up to this agreement. Canada has also worked with China, Iceland, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the European Union who have demonstrated an interest in cooperating with Coastal States in this area.

“Together we have taken a strong proactive and precautionary approach to potential fishing activities in the central Arctic Ocean as climate change continues to have a major impact in the area. The melting polar ice cap is opening up this once frozen frontier to fishing, shipping, resource development and other interests,” said Mr. LeBlanc.

Throughout the negotiation process, the Canadian government has engaged with Inuit organizations including representatives of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, who were on the Canadian delegation to the negotiations, and with key stakeholders, including Territorial governments, the fishing industry, and environmental groups, to seek their views and input.

The final text recognizes Arctic Indigenous Peoples’ interests, the value of Indigenous knowledge in decision making, and provides for their inclusion in the process moving forward.

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Thank you & Best Regards,

Eng. Dimitrios Nikolaos Spanos
Lead Maritime Auditor / Principal Surveyor
Member of IRCA, IIMS, ELINT, HELMEPA & Nautical Institute

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