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(Research): The Sustainable Use of Marine Living Resources in the Central Arctic Ocean: The Role of Korea in the Context of International Legal Obligations

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Part of the Informed Decisionmaking for Sustainability book series (IDS)

Abstract

Following the conclusion of the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean, the Arctic and non-Arctic States, as well as Arctic Indigenous communities, are facing new challenges in managing the expected increase in human activities in the Central Arctic Ocean and in preserving and protecting the marine environment there. While the Agreement reflects a special responsibility in relation to the sustainable use of marine living resources in the Central Arctic Ocean that will be taken by all States Parties, certain distinctions between the Arctic and non-Arctic States in terms of their legal obligations still exist. Since the Arctic has no single international governance regime, it contains diverse and fragmented legal mechanisms that present questions to those States Parties. What is the spatial scope of the international law applicable to the Central Arctic Ocean? What are the legal obligations that the States Parties are bound to respect for ensuring the long-term conservation of marine living resources beyond national jurisdiction in the Arctic Ocean? Recognizing the role of non-Arctic States in the sustainable management of the Central Arctic Ocean, long-term sustainability would likely require the contribution of key non-Arctic States, such as Korea.

This article reviews key aspects of the evolving international regime relating to the Central Arctic Ocean. It also gives an overview of Korea’s international legal obligations and domestic institutional foundations for the pursuing sustainability of the Arctic region.

Keywords

  • UN SDGs
  • Marine Living Resources
  • Central Arctic Ocean
  • International Law
  • Arctic Policy
  • South Korea

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-89312-5_8
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Notes

  1. 1.

    GOAL 14: Life below water, UN Environmental Programme, Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

  2. 2.

    Bartenstein. K, 2015, The ‘Common Arctic’: Legal Analysis of Arctic & non-Arctic Political Discourses, Arctic Yearbook, pp.1.

  3. 3.

    Preamble of the Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity.

  4. 4.

    IPCC, Global Warming of 1.5 °C of Global Warming on Natural and Human system.

  5. 5.

    United Nations Sustainable Development, 1992, Agenda 21, Chapter Protection of the Oceans, All kinds of Seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf

  6. 6.

    The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Part V. Exclusive Economic Zone, Article 55–75.

  7. 7.

    Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States.

  8. 8.

    UNCLOS Part VII. High Seas, Article 87 Freedom of the high seas.

  9. 9.

    UNCLOS Article 116 Right to fish on the high seas.

  10. 10.

    The United Nations Agreement for the Implementation of the Provision of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. https://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_overview_fish_stocks.htm

  11. 11.

    UNFSA Article 8(3). para 3. “State having a real interest in the fisheries concerned may become members of such organization or participants in such arrangement. The terms of participation in such organization or arrangement shall not preclude such States from membership or participation; nor shall they be applied in a manner which discriminates against any State or group of States having a real interest in the fisheries concerned.”

  12. 12.

    Molenaar. E, 2000, The Concept of Real Interest and Other Aspects of Co-operation through Regional Fisheries Management Mechanisms, International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 15(4), pp.496.

  13. 13.

    As noted above, Article 8(3) of the UNFSA also requires that the terms of participation in an RFMO shall not discriminate against any group of States. The Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries Agreement does not create distinctions between coastal State and non-coastal State Parties in terms of decisionmaking. In the future, however, arguments about such distinctions may arise in considering whether and how to allow commercial fishing to start in the high seas area of the Central Arctic Ocean. Similar arguments may also arise concerning the question of whether CAOFA States Parties should have a privileged role in the development of additional resource management measures for the Central Arctic Ocean. See Balton. D, What will the BBNJ Agreement mean for the Arctic Fisheries Agreement?

  14. 14.

    UNCLOS Part VII. Section 2. Conservation and Management of the Living Resources of the High Seas, Article 116–119.

  15. 15.

    The competence area of the NEAFC Convention is limited to a small amount of the Central Arctic Ocean and there is yet no precedent to adopt management measures in this area. See also NEAFC Convention Article 1, a) “The Convention Area”.

  16. 16.

    The Agreement entered into force on 25 June 2021.

  17. 17.

    Tanaka. Y, 2011, The Changing Approaches to Conservation of Marine Living Resources in International Law, Max Plank Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht, pp.300.

  18. 18.

    UNCLOS Article 119 Conservation of the living resources of the high seas; State shall take measures which are designed, on the best scientific evidence available to the State concerned.

  19. 19.

    Hassan. D, 2009, Climate Change and the Current Regimes of Arctic Fisheries Resources Management: An Evaluation, Journal of Maritime Law & Commerce, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp.524.

  20. 20.

    Tanaka. Y, 2011, supra note 17, pp.293.

  21. 21.

    Sands. P, 2003, Principle of International Environmental Law, Cambridge University Press, pp.267.

  22. 22.

    Id. pp.267–272.

  23. 23.

    See also Annex II Guidance for the Application of Precautionary Reference Points in Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.

  24. 24.

    ITLOS, 1999, Southern Bluefin Tuna Cases (provisional measures) (Australia v. Japan; New Zealand v. Japan).

  25. 25.

    P. W. Birnie, A. E. Boyle and C. Redgwell, 2009, International Law & Environment, Oxford University Press, pp.163.

  26. 26.

    Sands. P, 2003, supra note 21, pp.279.

  27. 27.

    Schatz. V, Proelss. A, and Liu. N, 2019, The 2018 Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean: A Critical Analysis, The International Journal of Marine and Costal Law 34, pp.25.

  28. 28.

    Canada, China, Demark in respect of the Faroe Island and Greenland, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Russia, and the United States.

  29. 29.

    European Commission, the Agreement to prevent unregulated high seas fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM:2018:453:FIN

  30. 30.

    Heidar. T, 2017, The Legal Framework for High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean, chap. 6., International Marine Economy: Law and Policy, Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, pp.179.

  31. 31.

    Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean 2018, preamble, para 11–12, Article 2.

  32. 32.

    Vylegzhanin. A, Young. O, and Berkman. P, 2020, The Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries Agreement as an Element in the Evolving Arctic Ocean Governance Complex, Marine Policy, pp.6.

  33. 33.

    Balton. D, 2018, The Arctic Fisheries Agreement: Looking to 2030 and Beyond, The Arctic in World Affairs, Korea Maritime Institute and East-West Center, pp.88.

  34. 34.

    Schatz. V, Proelss. A, and Liu. N, supra note 27, pp.3.

  35. 35.

    Chairs’ Statement: 5th Meeting of Scientific Experts on Fish Stocks of the Central Arctic Ocean, Ottawa, Canada, October 24–26, 2017.

  36. 36.

    Heidar. T, supra note 30, pp.181.

  37. 37.

    Article 234 Ice-covered areas; coastal States have the right to adopt laws and regulations for the prevention, reduction and control of marine pollution from vessels in ice-covered areas within the limits of the EEZ.

  38. 38.

    MOFA, ROK completes domestic ratification procedure for Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean. http://www.mofa.go.kr/eng/brd/m_5676/view.do

  39. 39.

    Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI), Korea-Arctic Ocean Observing System (K-AOOS, 2016–2020) funded by the Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

  40. 40.

    Kim. J and Kim. J, 2017, Korean Perspectives, The Arctic in World Affairs, Korea Maritime Institute and East-West Center, pp. 289.

  41. 41.

    Preventing Unregulated Commercial Fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean: A compilation of reports from meetings of experts in Shanghai, Incheon & Sapporo, March 2017.

  42. 42.

    Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), Ministry of Environment (MOE), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT), Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

  43. 43.

    Jin. D, Seo. W & Lee. S, 2017, Arctic Policy of the Republic of Korea, 22 Ocean & Coastal L.J, pp.90.

  44. 44.

    Kwon. S, 2018, Korea’s Arctic Policy and Activities, The Arctic in World Affairs, Korea Maritime Institute and East-West Center, pp.50.

  45. 45.

    Korea Legislation Research Institute, ACT ON ACTIVITIES IN THE ANTARCTIC AREA (2004), http://elaw.klri.re.kr/kor_service/lawView.do?hseq=46891&lang=ENG

  46. 46.

    Korea Legislation Research Institute, FRAMEWORK ACT ON MARINE FISHERY DEVELOPMENT (2017), http://elaw.klri.re.kr/kor_service/lawView.do?hseq=43304&lang=ENG

  47. 47.

    Article 20 Installation of Marine Research Station, and Survey and Research; The Government shall devise and implement support plans required for the installation of a marine research station in a specific area, such as the South Pole and the North Pole, and for the advancement of marine science survey and research.

  48. 48.

    Korea National Assembly Agricultural and Fisheries Committee, 2017, The examination report on Act on Promotion of Polar Activities (KOREAN), http://likms.assembly.go.kr/bill/billDetail.do?billId=PRC_K1A6R1H2S0Z1P1G7I2W7D0C9N8D2G9

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Acknowledgements

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to Dr. Hyoung Chul Shin (KOPRI) for his encouragement and insights of Korean scientific leadership. We also like to extend our gratitude to Ambassador David Balton and the reviewers for valuable comments on this paper.

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Kim, Y., Park, JK.J., Son, Y. (2022). (Research): The Sustainable Use of Marine Living Resources in the Central Arctic Ocean: The Role of Korea in the Context of International Legal Obligations. In: Berkman, P.A., Vylegzhanin, A.N., Young, O.R., Balton, D.A., Øvretveit, O.R. (eds) Building Common Interests in the Arctic Ocean with Global Inclusion. Informed Decisionmaking for Sustainability. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-89312-5_8

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