Arctic Frontiers Conference

Nereus Fellow Richard Caddell (Utrecht) and Chair of the Nereus Steering Committee Daniel Pauly (UBC) attended the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø, Norway, from January 22 to 27. The conference brought together more than 1400 representatives from academia, government, and business to discuss the challenges associated with sustainable development in the Arctic.

Caddell presented in a session on managing risks in policymaking and law. His abstract was entitled “Precautionary Management and the Regulation of Future Fisheries”:

The extensive pressures upon current commercial fisheries, compounded by the projected impacts of climate change and associated processes on marine ecosystems, appear increasingly likely to displace elements of future fishing effort towards new geographical areas, target species and fishing techniques. Nevertheless, the precise legal obligations incumbent in the pursuit of emerging fishing opportunities have thus far received minimal consideration. In the context of the precautionary management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks, where a new or exploratory fishery is contemplated, Article 6(6) of the UN Fish Stocks Agreement 1995 mandates the application of cautious conservation measures to facilitate the acquisition of sufficient data to assess the impacts of fishing on the long-term sustainability of the stocks. Thereafter, if appropriate, conservation and management measures may be adopted to allow for the gradual development of the fishery and its eventual transition to commercial exploitation. Although these obligations have been advanced and implemented by a number of regional bodies, there has been little appraisal of the regulation of new and exploratory fisheries during this interim stage. This contribution accordingly collates and evaluates the present international law and practice in respect of new and exploratory fisheries, with particular reference to pioneering developments within the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), alongside the continued elaboration of policies and procedures to regulate exploratory fisheries within other bodies, with a view towards the elaboration of interim management principles for the emerging fisheries of the Arctic.