The United States is pleased to highlight that the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean will enter into force June 25, 2021. This is the first multilateral agreement of its kind to take a legally binding, precautionary approach to protect an area from commercial fishing before such fishing has begun.
There are currently no commercial fisheries in the Arctic high seas, with most of the region covered by ice year-round. However, with an ever-increasing ice-free area in the summer, commercial fishing may be possible in the foreseeable future. The Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean aims to manage potential fishing in the high seas of this region.
The United States led the negotiation of the Agreement, which was signed in Greenland on October 3, 2018. There were ten participants in the negotiation of and Signatories to the Agreement: Canada, the People’s Republic of China, the Kingdom of Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), the European Union, Iceland, Japan, the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. The Agreement has two principal objectives: the prevention of unregulated fishing in the high seas portion of the central Arctic Ocean and the facilitation of joint scientific research and monitoring.