By: Seamus Ryder
On 16 July, 2015, Ambassadorial-level representatives from all five Arctic Ocean coastal states – Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States (the Arctic Five) – met in Oslo to sign the Declaration concerning the Prevention of Unregulated High Seas Fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean (the Declaration). The Declaration follows up on the substantive outcome of the February 2014 Nuuk Meeting on Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries and builds upon discussions toward the development and implementation of interim measures to prevent unregulated fishing in the high seas portion of the central Arctic Ocean and related scientific matters. In this sense, the Declaration can be seen as the latest development in a so-called “Arctic Ocean coastal state process” on the regulation and management of Arctic Ocean fisheries. This blog post looks at the substantive output of this latest development and makes some initial observations regarding the contribution of the Declaration to the legal and policy framework for Arctic fisheries (background information and discussions on both the Nuuk meeting and the Arctic Ocean coastal state process on Arctic Ocean fisheries can be found in an earlier blog post). If nothing else, this post aims to clarify a number of apparent misconceptions and inaccuracies in media reports on the Declaration.