The European Union, Denmark, Norway and other major fishing nations like The United States, China and Russian Federation met in Ottawa on 29-30 May to discuss the prevention of unregulated fishing in the Arctic. The aim of the meeting was to begin preparatory work for enforcing the Agreement to prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean which was ratified earlier in 2018. The agreement is the precautionary approach by ten countries to manage high seas fish stocks in the Central Artic Ocean. The agreement covers approximately 2.8 million square kilometers, an area roughly equal to the size of the Mediterranean Sea. Climate change has brought this issue afront by melting the ice that traditionally covered the high seas of the central Artic Ocean year-round. The melting of this ice makes the region accessible to fishing.
In Ottawa, delegations agreed to formalise a provisional scientific group to coordinate the work of scientific experts from all the ten countries. The delegations also discussed the integration of indigenous and local knowledge and the participation of representatives of Artic communities during the process of discussion and implementation of the Agreement to prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Artic Ocean. Delegations from all ten signatories of the agreement will next meet at a conference in 2020 to take stock of developments and decide on next steps for enforcing the agreement. The group of scientists will meet for the first time in February 2020 at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Inspra, Italy.