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Science - Policy Interplay in Arctic Fisheries



The 2005 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment predicted a number of developments in the marine Arctic that manifests themselves today. A number of fish species, for example, can now be observed at higher latitudes than previously. The ice cover of the Arctic Ocean is shrinking rapidly, and is now down to some 4 million km2 in late summer. Summer ice cover is likely to continue to decline, and is expected to be gone by mid-century. The ramifications of this for marine ecosystems are hard to predict, but the prospects of fish stocks moving into previously ice covered areas in the Central Arctic Ocean has brought the coastal states (the Russian Federation, USA, Canada, Denmark/Greenland, and Norway) to negotiate an agreement on prevention of the emergence of unregulated fishing in the 2.8 million km2 High Seas area beyond national jurisdiction there (the 2015 Oslo Declaration). The agreement also provides for the establishment of a research and monitoring program, as well as the initiation of an expanded process to bring several other countries into an agreement on prevention of unregulated fishing. As of 2017, a scientific meeting addressing a science plan for future work on monitoring of fish stocks at high latitudes will be held, and five meetings has been held in the expanded circle of governments (now also including the EU, Iceland, Japan, the Republic of Korea as well as the Peoples´Republic of China. Since the inception of this process, science has been critical to the development of the political cooperation. The purpose of this presentation is to account for the development of this process from its start almost a decade ago and analyse the interplay between science and politics in this period.
Science - Policy Interplay
in Arctic Fisheries
Alf Hakon Hoel
Royal Norwegian Embassy Washington DC
The science - policy
relationship: It´s complicated
1982 Law of the Sea Convention
1993 FAO Compliance Agreement
1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement
1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries + IPOAs
2003 FAO Ecosystem Approach guidelines
2007/9 UNGA bottom fishing resolutions
2009 FAO Deep Sea Fishing Guidelines
2009 FAO Port State Measures Agreement
2014 FAO Flag State Performance guidelines
2017 FAO Guidelines for catch documentation
Global framework....
... with standards for
Best scientific evidence available
Precautionary approach
Ecosystem considerations
...that requires significant inputs from
science as a basis for decision-making.
"The timely collection, compilation and analysis of
data fundamental to the effective conservation and
UN Fish Stocks Agreement, annex 1
Result: from unsustainable
to sustainable
Groundfish SSB, Barents Sea
Regional cooperation
UNCLOS and UNFA obligations
About 20 Regional Fisheries Management
Organizations (RFMOs) worldwide
The High Seas in the central Arctic Ocean and
regional cooperation - the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries
commission (NEAFC)
Regional scientific
The International
Council for the
Exploration of the Sea
(ICES) (est. 1902)
Provision of scientific advice
to coastal states and regional
governmental cooperation
Ilulissat Declaration, May 2008
“… the five coastal states … will take steps in
accordance with international law both nationally
and in cooperation among the five states and other
interested parties to ensure the protection and
preservation of the fragile marine environment of
the Arctic Ocean.”
1st meeting of governments, Oslo 2010: What is the status of
1st scientific meeting, Anchorage 2011: No urgency, need to
establish baseline data.
2nd mtg of governments, Washington DC 2013: Prospects for
commercial fisheries in the ABNJ?
2nd scientific mtg, Tromsø 2013: not really. Need to know
3rd mtg of governments, Nuuk, 2014: Agreement (2015)
3rd scientific mtg, Seattle, 2015: Status of knowledge, fw for
science plan
The Oslo-Declaration (2015)
Interim measures to deter unregulated fishing in the
ABNJ in the central Arctic Ocean:
Abstain from unregulated fishing
Program of Scientific Research and Monitoring
An extended process
4th Science Meeting,
Tromsø September 2016
Synthesis of knowledge
Science & Monitoring plan
FW for implementation plan
The extended process
5 + 5 countries/EU
5 meetings since December 2015 + 1 science
meeting (Tromsø sept ´16)
Legally binding agreement: Abstain from unregulated
fishing, research & monitoring program, future steps
Status presens
Science: accomplishments
and next steps
1-3 meeting (2011-15): Status & gaps reports,
inventory of research & monitoring, draft FW for JPRM
4 meeting (2016): Synthesis of knowledge, Science &
Monitoring plan, FW for implementation plan
Ottawa October 2017:implementation plan
Lessons science - policy
Awareness of legal - political context:
Importance of international standards/
objectives for management
Increasing dependence on scientific
inputs for operationalizing and
achieving standards
Lessons, cont´d.
Institutionalization of science - policy
interactions: the Joint Program of
Scientific Research and Monitoring
Vocabulary: Important to develop a
sense of the significance and meaning
of concepts used by “the other side”
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