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United States Reaches Agreement to Limit Arctic Fishing

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On November 30, 2017, the United States concluded negotiations on an agreement to limit fishing in the Arctic, titled the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean. Delegations from the European Union and nine countries—Canada, China, Denmark with regard to Greenland and the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, and the United States—participated in the negotiations, which began in December of 2015. According to a statement made by the U.S. State Department:

The Agreement will prevent unregulated commercial fishing in the high seas portion of the central Arctic Ocean, an area that is roughly 2.8 million square kilometers in size, roughly the size of the Mediterranean Sea. Commercial fishing has never been known to occur in this area, nor is it likely to occur in the near future. However, given the changing conditions of the Arctic Ocean, the governments in question developed this Agreement in accordance with the precautionary approach to fisheries management.

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1 U.S. Dep't of State Press Release, Meeting on High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean, 28–30 November 2017: Chairman's Statement (Nov. 30, 2017), at https://www.state.gov/e/oes/ocns/opa/rls/276136.htm [https://perma.cc/M47E-4C5W] [hereinafter November 30 Press Release].

2 U.S. Dep't of State Press Release, Meeting on High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean: Chairman's Statement (Mar. 27, 2017), at https://www.state.gov/e/oes/ocns/opa/rls/269126.htm [https://perma.cc/7QPA-T5H2] [hereinafter March 27 Press Release].

3 November 30 Press Release, supra note 1.

4 Id.

5 Norwegian Gov't Press Release, Agreement on Unregulated Fishing in the Arctic Ocean (Dec. 1, 2017), at https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/agreement-on-unregulated-fishing-in-the-arctic-ocean/id2580484 [https://perma.cc/9W5X-4S4B].

6 Norwegian Gov't Press Release, Declaration Concerning the Prevention of Unregulated High Seas Fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean (July 16, 2015), available at https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/departementene/ud/vedlegg/folkerett/declaration-on-arctic-fisheries-16-july-2015.pdf [https://perma.cc/59WM-U32W].

7 Eur. Comm'n Press Release, EU and its Arctic Partners Agree to Prevent Unregulated Fishing in High Seas (Dec. 1, 2017), at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEX-17-5065_en.htm [https://perma.cc/5MLS-36KL] [hereinafter EU Press Release].

8 Fisheries and Oceans Canada Statement, Minister LeBlanc Commends Historic International Agreement to Prevent Unregulated Fishing in the High Seas of the Central Arctic Ocean (Nov. 30, 2017), at https://www.canada.ca/en/fisheries-oceans/news/2017/11/minister_leblanccommendshistoricinternationalagreementtopreventu.html [https://perma.cc/ZX6J-4GYL] [hereinafter Canada Statement].

9 Nov. 30 Press Release, supra note 1.

10 Law Libr. of Congress, Canada; Denmark; Norway; Russia; United States: Fishing Declaration Covering Central Arctic (July 21, 2015), at http://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/canada-denmark-norway-russia-united-states-fishing-declaration-covering-central-arctic [https://perma.cc/N5HU-J9U8].

11 U.S. Dep't of State Press Release, Arctic Nations Sign Declaration to Prevent Unregulated Fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean (July 16, 2015), at https://web.archive.org/web/20150718230333/http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/07/244969.htm [https://perma.cc/5WE6-MB5M]. See also Pub. L. No. 110-243, 122 Stat. 1569 (2008).

12 U.S. Dep't of State Press Release, Meeting on High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean: Chairmen's Statement (Dec. 3, 2015), at https://web.archive.org/web/20170113151028/https://www.state.gov/e/oes/rls/pr/250352.htm [https://perma.cc/PF95-FR93] (“The meeting followed the signing of the Declaration Concerning the Prevention of Unregulated High Seas Fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean by Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark in respect of Greenland, the Kingdom of Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States of America on 16 July 2015.”). See also Sima Sahar Zerehi, Binding Agreement on High Seas Fishing in Arctic Ocean Needed, Says Conservation Group, CBC News (July 9, 2016), at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/canada-pushing-for-finding-agreement-on-arctic-fishing-1.3671168 (discussing how the 2016 negotiations hoped to build on the 2015 agreement).

13 March 27 Press Release, supra note 2 (“Delegations worked on the basis of a Chairman's Text … that was in the format of a legally binding agreement.”).

14 Canada Statement, supra note 8.

15 EU Press Release, supra note 7.

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American Journal of International Law
  • ISSN: 0002-9300
  • EISSN: 2161-7953
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