Arcticportal News
1.8 billion for Russian icebreakers
Old News
Thursday, 27 October 2011 14:00

yamal oil Yamal is a Russian icebreakers, soon to be an old one in the Russian fleet. (Photo: BarentsObserver) Yamal is a Russian icebreakers, soon to be an old one in the Russian fleet. (Photo: BarentsObserver)Russia will spend 1,8 billion Euros on four state of the art icebreakers.

The United Shipbuilding Corporation will oversee the build and construction will start next year, in 2012.

The four new icebreakers will be added to another two already in place. A total of six new icebreakers will be in Russian waters in the next years.

Three of the new vessels are to be nuclear powered, the others will have diesel engines.

That is in line with more recent activity in Arctic shipping.

Source: BarentsObserver

Old News
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 14:37

codwar1Icelandic patrol ships nears an English trawler. (Photo: cod wars were political disputes between the governments of Iceland and Britain over fisheries management in the Icelandic maritime waters. The disputes were numerous between the years 1948 and 1976 and are called the Cod wars. The cod wars were numerous; they can be counted as three or even four.

The first dispute was in 1950. The territorial waters were moved up to 4 miles much to Britain’s annoyance since they utilized the Icelandic fisheries. Because of the four mile limit, they could not fish as much as before. This decision created a lot of conflict and Icelandic fish was banned from England, up until 1956 when the dispute ended.

The second dispute was in 1958. The territorial waters were moved to 12 miles according to the United Nations Geneva Convention on Law of the Sea. Britain was again furious, sending the vessel HMS Russell to Iceland.

It’s captain accused the captain of Icelandic coastal guard vessel Ægir of trying to sink the vessel. Protests were held in Reykjavik against Britain were held but the dispute ended in 1961.

The third dispute was in 1972. Iceland would yet again move its territorial waters, not up to 50 miles. And again the Brits were unhappy, sending army vessels to Iceland to protect the British boats, who were fishing within the 50 mile territorial zone.

For the first time the Icelanders used a new weapon they invented themselves.

On September 5th 1972 the Icelanders encountered an unmarked trawler fishing northeast of Iceland. The captain of the trawler refused to divulge the trawler's name and number, and, after being warned to follow the Coast Guard's orders, played Rule Britannia over the radio.

net cutters The net cutters - Source: The Icelandic Coast Guard. The net cutters - Source: The Icelandic Coast Guard.That resulted in Iceland deploying the net cutter into the water for the first time and Ægir sailed along the trawler's port side. The fishermen tossed a thick nylon rope into the water as the patrol ship closed in, attempting to disable its propeller. After passing the trawler, Ægir veered to the trawler's starboard side.

The net cutter, 290 meters in length, went behind the patrol vessel, sliced one of the trawling wires. As Ægir came about to circle the unidentified trawler, its angry crew threw coal as well as garbage and a large fire axe at the Coast Guard vessel.

A truce was made in 1973.

The fourth dispute was in 1975 when Iceland moved its territorial waters up to 200 miles. Britain refused to oblige and kept fishing in Icelandic waters. Only 24 hours after the law passed Iceland used the wire cutters again, now on Primella trawler from Hull.

The disputes were getting dangerous and Britain kept sending navy vessels to Iceland which instead used their wire cutters.

After the nations met in Oslo in 1976 the disputes finally ended.

Iceland had many good weapons which led to them winning all the battles.

Firstly they could point out that if Britain would break any laws Iceland would resign from NATO and therefore dismiss the US Army from Iceland. That was a strong weapon.

Secondly the laws were in favour of Iceland and many supported the small nation against the big old empire.

And lastly it was clear that Britain could not use army vessels to protect their trawlers when fishing forever.

Source: The Cod Wars


Russia and Iceland sign agreement
Old News
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 12:52

katrin juliusdottir Katrín Júlíusdóttir and Sergey Shmatko at the summit this week (Photo: The ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Iceland. Katrín Júlíusdóttir and Sergey Shmatko at the summit this week (Photo: The ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Iceland.Iceland and Russia have signed a cooperation agenda regarding geothermal energy.

The agreement was signed yesterday by Icelandic Minister of Industry Energy and Tourism, Katrín Júlíusdóttir, and Sergey Shmatko, the Minister of Energy in Russia.

Russia wants to utilize geothermal energy better and Iceland seeks new ways to utilize the vast geothermal resources in the country.

Both countries believe they will gain significantly from the cooperation.

An energy summit in Moscow this week saw Ms. Júlíusdóttir address geothermal matters in Iceland and the forthcoming cooperation with Russia.

As Arctic Portal has reported, Iceland has looked to Russia for more cooperation and the agreement signed this week was a step in that direction.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iceland

Disputes and the agreement of High Seas Fishing
Old News
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 10:56

high seas The high seas - marked with orange. The high seas - marked with orange.In the decade following the adoption of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, fishing on the high seas became a major international problem.

The Convention gave all States the freedom to fish without regulations on the high seas, but coastal States, to which the Law of the Sea conferred exclusive economic rights, including the right to fish within 200 miles off their shores, began to complain that fleets fishing on the high seas were reducing catches in their domestic waters.

The problem centred on fish populations that "straddle" the boundaries of countries' 200-mile exclusive economic zones (EEZs), such as cod off Canada's eastern coast and pollack in the Bering Sea, and highly migratory species like tuna and swordfish, which move between EEZs and the high seas.

By the early 1990s, most stocks of commercially valued fish were running low, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). As catches became smaller, coastal States complained that the industrial-scale fishing operations of the so-called "distant-water" States on the high seas were undermining their efforts to conserve and revitalize fish stocks within the EEZs.

Reports of violence between fishing vessels from coastal and distant-water States became increasingly frequent, especially during the "cod wars" of the 1970s. Several countries, including Britain and Norway, sent naval ships to protect fishing fleets on the high seas. Spanish fishers clashed with British and French driftnetters in what came to be known as the "tuna wars".

Before the UN Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks was finalized in October 1995, several coastal States had fired shots at foreign fleets. In the northern Atlantic, Canada seized and confiscated a Spanish boat and crew fishing in international waters just beyond the Canadian 200-mile limit.

The coastal States most concerned during the negotiations about the impact of high seas fishing on their domestic harvest include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Iceland and New Zealand.

Six countries are responsible for 90 per cent of "distant-water" fishing: Russia, Japan, Spain, Poland, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan province of China. The United States also does a significant amount of high-seas fishing, especially for tuna, and in recent years China has become a major fishing nation.

At the Earth Summit -- the UN Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992--Governments called on the United Nations to find ways to conserve fish stocks and prevent international conflicts over fishing on the high seas. The UN

Conference on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks held its first full meeting in July 1993. After six negotiating sessions, a legally binding Agreement was opened for signing on 4 December 1995.

"This Agreement gives us a tool for winning the battle to save the world's fish", Ambassador Satya N. Nandan of Fiji, the Conference Chairman, said at the close of the talks. "It confers on States both the right to fish and the obligation to manage fish stocks sustainably."


The treaty:

  • Establishes the basis for the sustainable management and conservation of the world's fisheries;
  • Addresses the problem of inadequate data on fish stocks;
  • Provides for the establishment of quotas;
  • Calls for the setting up of regional fishing organizations where none exist;
  • Tackles problems caused by the persistence of unauthorized fishing;
  • Sets out procedures for ensuring compliance with its provisions, including the right to board and inspect vessels belonging to other States; and
  • Prescribes options for the compulsory and binding peaceful settlement of disputes between States.

    Source: United Nations website
Managment of Arctic Fisheries
Old News
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 10:52

Efnhagslogsaga AP skiptinglita EEZ-zones. EEZ-zones - Click the image to enlarge.Coastal states have their maritime zones where they have exclusive access to all resources. The map on the right shows these zones.

The zone stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical miles from its coast (370,4 km). The states have the rights to fish in the EEZ, but also many duties, like preventing overfishing and pollution.

Fisheries conservation and management authorities, most frequently a Ministry of Fisheries, often make use of the following substantive standards:

1. Restrictions on catch and effort, for instance by setting the total allowable catch (TAC) and allocating the TAC by means of national quotas.
2. Minimum size limits for target species.
3. Maximum by-catch limits, for instance in terms of the number of individuals (e.g. in relation to marine turtles and marine mammals) or as a percentage of the target catch.
4. Technical measures, for instance minimum mesh sizes,  by-catch mitigation techniques (e.g. turtle excluder devices, bird-scaring lines).
5. Spatial measures (e.g. closed areas) aimed at avoiding catch of target species (e.g. nursing and spawning areas) or non-target species (e.g. important feedings areas) or avoiding impact on sensitive habitat (e.g. cold water coral reefs).

There are numbers of intergovernmental bodies who are relevant to fisheries in the Arctic.

The two biggest ones are perhaps the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of FAO has the vision of "a world in which responsible and sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources makes an appreciable contribution to human well-being, food security and poverty alleviation."

It´s mission is "to strengthen global governance and the managerial and technical capacities of members and to lead consensus-building towards improved conservation and utilization of aquatic resources."

The UNGA has many agreements related to the oceans, like the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea and the Agreement on High Seas Fishing, relating to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks.

Read more about the agreement here on the Arctic Portal website.

At the regional level, there are a number of RFMO´s and bilateral or regional organizations/arrangements whose spatial scope overlaps to some extent with the Arctic marine area.

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