This was a concern of the Arctic coastal states. They decided to prevent commercial fishing until better scientific knowledge is available, as well as to include other states that have long-range water fishing capabilities. The result was the International Agreement on the Prevention of Unregulated Fishing on the High Seas of the Central Arctic Ocean, signed in 2018 by Canada, Iceland, the Kingdom of Denmark, Norway, the United States and the Russian Federation, as well as China, Japan, South Korea and the European Union. Maya Gold is Senior Advisor on International and Intergovernmental Affairs to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Head of Delegation for Canada on our Arctic Marine Protection Working Group (AMAP). Overall, the CAOFA can be described as an instrument that takes a precautionary approach to fisheries conservation and management (see Article 6 and Annex 11 UNFSA). It remains to be seen whether this approach will actually be implemented in practice. Believing that commercial fishing in the upper central Arctic Ocean is unlikely to be profitable in the near future […] Considering that, until recently, ice generally covered the upper part of the central Arctic Ocean year-round, which has made fishing in these waters impossible, but ice cover in this area has decreased in recent years; Following several bilateral roundtables, Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States issued the „Nuuk Declaration“ in February 2014 calling for action on the central arctic issue. The following year, these same states signed the non-binding „Oslo Declaration“, in which they agreed not to allow their commercial fleets to fish in the central Arctic Ocean until there was a sound scientific basis and an adequate management system (Norway in 2015). The Oslo Declaration also recognized the need to include other nations/jurisdictions with long-range water fishing capacity in this issue.
Recalling the principles and provisions of treaties and other international instruments relating to sea fisheries that already apply to the high seas of the central Arctic Ocean, including those contained in: this Agreement provides Canada and other Parties with a framework for: negotiations began in December 2015 between the five States signatories to the Oslo Declaration, as well as China, the European Union (responsible for fisheries policy on behalf of its Member States), Iceland, Japan and the Republic of Korea. David Balton of the U.S. State Department was the chair of the negotiation process and it was the United States that launched the talks between the coastal states that resulted in the Oslo Declaration. . . .