Challenges for the Establishment of Marine Protected Areas in Response to Arctic Marine Operations and Shipping

  • Millicent McCreathEmail author
  • Lawson W. Brigham
Part of the WMU Studies in Maritime Affairs book series (WMUSTUD, volume 7)


Increasing Arctic marine use is driven primarily by natural resource development and greater marine access throughout the Arctic Ocean created by profound sea ice retreat. Significant management measures to enhance protection of Arctic people and the marine environment are emerging, including the development of marine protected areas (MPAs) which may be effective and valuable tools. MPAs have been established by individual Arctic coastal states within their respective national jurisdictions; however, a pan-Arctic network of MPAs has yet to be established despite Arctic Council deliberations. This overview focuses on those MPAs that can be designated by the International Maritime Organization and by international instrument or treaty to respond to increasing Arctic marine operations and shipping. Key challenges remain in the Arctic to the introduction of select MPAs and development of a circumpolar network of MPAs in response to greater marine use: the variability of sea ice; the rights and concerns of indigenous people; a lack of marine infrastructure; application to the Central Arctic Ocean; establishing effective monitoring; and, compliance and enforcement in remote polar seas. Robust bilateral and multilateral cooperation will be necessary not only to establish effective MPAs but also to sustain them for the long term. Reducing the large Arctic marine infrastructure gap will be a key requirement to achieve effective MPA management and attain critical conservation goals.


Marine protected area Polar Code UNCLOS Arctic marine operations and shipping Protective measures 


  1. ACIA. (2004). Impacts of a warming Arctic: Arctic climate impact assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. AMAP/CAFF/SDWG. (2013). Identification of Arctic marine areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance: Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) IIc. Oslo: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP).Google Scholar
  3. AMSA. (2009). Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA). Arctic Council, April 2009, second printing.Google Scholar
  4. Boone, L. (2013). International regulation of polar shipping. In E. J. Molenaar, A. G. Oude Elferink, & D. R. Rothwell (Eds.), The law of the sea and the polar regions: Interactions between global and regional regimes (p. 193). Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brigham, L. W. (2017). The changing maritime Arctic and new marine operations. In R. C. Beckman et al. (Eds.), Governance of Arctic shipping (p. 3). Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  6. Canada Shipping Act. (2001). Canada Shipping Act, 2001, Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone Regulations, SOR/2010-127.Google Scholar
  7. CBD. (1992). Convention on Biological Diversity, opened for signature 5 June 1992, 1760 UNTS 79 (entered into force 29 December 1993).Google Scholar
  8. CBD. (2014). CBD Doc. UNEP/CBD/EBSA/WS/2014/1/5 20 May 2014, Report of the Arctic Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas.Google Scholar
  9. CBD COP 10. (2010). Decision X/29 Marine and coastal biodiversity, adopted 29 October 2010.Google Scholar
  10. CBD COP 9. (2008). Decision IX/20 Marine and coastal biodiversity, adopted 9 October 2008.Google Scholar
  11. CBD Secretariat. (2004). Technical advice on the establishment and management of a national system of marine and coastal protected areas. CBD Technical Series No 13.Google Scholar
  12. CCAMLR. (2016a). Conservation Measure 91-05 (2016), Ross Sea region marine protected area.Google Scholar
  13. CCAMLR. (2016b). CCAMLR to create world’s largest Marine Protected Area, 28 October 2016,
  14. Chircop, A. (2009a). The growth of international shipping in the Arctic: Is a regulatory review timely? The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 24, 355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chircop, A. (2009b). The designation of particularly sensitive sea areas: A new layer in the regime for marine environmental protection from international shipping. In A. Chircop, T. McDorman, & S. Rolston (Eds.), The future of ocean-regime building: Essays in tribute to Douglas M Johnston (p. 573). Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chircop, A. (2016). Sustainable Arctic shipping: Are current international rules for polar shipping sufficient? The Journal of Ocean Technology, 11(3), 39.Google Scholar
  17. Churchill, R. (2013). The growing establishment of high seas marine protected areas: Implications for shipping. In R. Caddell & D. R. Thomas (Eds.), Shipping, law and the marine environment in the 21st century: Emerging challenges for the law of the sea – Legal implications and liabilities (p. 53). Oxon: Lawtext Publishing.Google Scholar
  18. COLREG. (1972). Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, opened for signature 20 October 1972, 1050 UNTS 16 (entered into force 15 July 1977).Google Scholar
  19. DNV. (2014). Specially Designated Marine Areas in the Arctic High Seas. Det Norske Veritas. Oslo (Revision No. 1).Google Scholar
  20. Fauchald, O. K. (2011). Regulatory frameworks for maritime transport in the Arctic: Will a Polar Code contribute to resolve conflicting interests? In J. Grue & R. Gabrielsen (Eds.), Maritime transport in the High North (p. 73). Oslo: Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and Norwegian Academy of Technological Studies.Google Scholar
  21. Henriksen, T. (2013a). Conservation of marine biodiversity and the international maritime organization. In C. Voigt (Ed.), Rule of law for nature: New dimensions and ideas in environmental law (p. 331). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Henriksen, T. (2013b). The future of navigation in ice-covered areas: A view from the Arctic. In R. Caddell & D. R. Thomas (Eds.), Shipping, law and the marine environment in the 21st century: Emerging challenges for the law of the sea – Legal implications and liabilities (p. 8). Oxon: Lawtext Publishing.Google Scholar
  23. Henriksen, T. (2015). Protecting polar environments: Coherency in regulating Arctic shipping. In R. Rayfuse (Ed.), Research handbook on international marine environmental law (p. 363). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. IMO. (1948). Convention on the International Maritime Organization, opened for signature 6 March 1948, 289 UNTS 3, 1520 UNTS 297 (entered into force 17 March 1958).Google Scholar
  25. IMO. (1985). IMO Res.A.572(14), General Provisions on Ships’ Routeing, adopted 20 November 1985, as amended.Google Scholar
  26. IMO. (1997a). IMO Res. A.857(2), Guidelines for Vessel Traffic Services, adopted 27 November 1997.Google Scholar
  27. IMO. (1997b). IMO Res. A.851(20), General Principles for Ship Reporting Systems and Ship Reporting Requirements, including Guidelines for Reporting Incidents involving Dangerous Goods, Harmful Substances and/or Marine Pollutants, adopted 27 November 1997.Google Scholar
  28. IMO. (2001). IMO Res. A.927(22), Guidelines for the Designation of Special Are as under MARPOL 73/78 and Guidelines for the Identification and Designation of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas, adopted 29 November 2001.Google Scholar
  29. IMO. (2005). IMO Res. A.982(24), Revised Guidelines for the Identification and Designation of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas, adopted 1 December 2005.Google Scholar
  30. IMO. (2017a). Status of Conventions. 7 February 2017. <>.
  31. IMO. (2017b). Summary of Status of Conventions. 7 February 2017. <>.
  32. IUCN. (2008). In N. Dudley (Ed.), Guidelines for applying protected area management guidelines. IUCN.Google Scholar
  33. Jakobsen, I. U. (2016). Marine protected areas in international law: An arctic perspective. Leiden: Brill Nijhoff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jakobsen, I. U., & Johansen, E. (2017). Efforts of the Arctic Council to protect sensitive arctic high sea areas from the impact of shipping. MarIus, 471, 1–40.Google Scholar
  35. Kelleher, G. (Ed.). (1999). Guidelines for marine protected areas. IUCN.Google Scholar
  36. Lalonde, S. (2013). Marine protected areas in the Arctic. In E. J. Molenaar et al. (Eds.), The law of the sea and the polar regions: Interactions between global and regional regimes (p. 85). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. LOSC. (1982). United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, opened for signature 10 December 1982, 1833 UNTS 396 (entered into force 16 November 1994).Google Scholar
  38. MARPOL. (1973/78). International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (as Modified by the Protocol of 1978 Relating Thereto), opened for signature 2 November 1973, 1340 UNTS 184 (entered into force 2 October 1983).Google Scholar
  39. McDorman, T. (2015). A note on the potential conflicting treaty rights and obligations between the IMO’s Polar Code and Article 234 of the Law of the Sea Convention. In S. Lalonde & T. L. McDorman (Eds.), International law and politics of the Arctic Ocean: Essays in honor of Donat Pharand (p. 141). Leiden: Brill Nijhoff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Molenaar, E. J. (1998). Coastal state jurisdiction over vessel-source pollution. The Hague: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  41. Molenaar, E. J. (2009). Arctice marine shipping: Overview of the international legal framework, gaps and options. Journal of Transnational Law and Policy, 18(2), 289.Google Scholar
  42. Molenaar, E. J. (2014). Status and reform of international arctic shipping law. In E. Tedsen et al. (Eds.), Arctic marine governance (p. 127). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nicoll, R., & Day, J. C. (2017). Correct application of the IUCN protected area management categories to the CCAMLR Convention Area. Marine Policy, 77, 9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. NSRA. (2013). Ministry of Transport of Russia, Rules of Navigation in the Water Area of the Northern Sea Route, January 17, 2013, No 7.Google Scholar
  45. PAME. (2015). Framework for a Pan-Arctic Network of Marine Protected Areas. Arctic Council, April 2015.Google Scholar
  46. Pew. (2017). International Officials Close to Agreement to Protect Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries, Steve Ganey, April 10, 2017, available at
  47. PrepCom. (2017). Chair’s Streamlined non-paper on Elements of a Draft Text of an International Legally-Binding Instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, available at
  48. Ringbom, H. (2015). Vessel-source pollution. In R. Rayfuse (Ed.), Research handbook on international marine environmental law (p. 105). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Roberts, J., Chircop, A., & Prior, S. (2010). Area-based management on the high seas: Possible application of the IMO’s particularly sensitive sea area concept. The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 25, 483–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Roberts, J., & Tsamenyi, M. (2007). The regulation of navigation under international law: A tool for protecting sensitive marine environments. In T. Ndiaye & R. Wolfrum (Eds.), Law of the sea, environmental law and settlement of disputes (p. 787). Leiden: Koninklijke Brill.Google Scholar
  51. Rothwell, D. (2000). Global environmental protection instruments and the polar marine environment. In D. Vidas (Ed.), Protecting the polar marine environment: Law and policy for pollution prevention (p. 57). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. SOLAS. (1974). International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, opened for signature 1 November 1974, UNTS 1184 (entered into force 25 May 1980).Google Scholar
  53. STCW. (1978). International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, opened for signature 7 July 1978, 1361 UNTS 190 (entered into force 28 April 1984).Google Scholar
  54. UNEP-WCMC. (2008). National and regional networks of marine protected areas: A review of progress. Cambridge: UNEP-WCMC.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for International Law, National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

Personalised recommendations