Sustainable Management of Marine Living Resources (fisheries) – A Core Element in the Norwegian Government’s High North Strategy

Summary by Odd Gunnar Skagestad, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway

  • Point of departure: Sustainable development - a mantra in world political discourse, combining the twin elements of viz. environment conservation and rational resource management. Key concept in both is sustainability - the sustainable management of our environment and its natural resources: Renewable resources should be harvested responsibly, with due regard to the needs of future generations.

    © Govert de Groot, Arctic Peoples Alert
  • Renewable resources include marine living resources. Management of these resources refers to fisheries in the broad sense – the catching of fish as well as crustaceans and marine mammals.
  • Norway’s dependence on fisheries – a vital part of our national economy. Therefore, sustainable use, based on scientific advice and the ecosystem approach, is the main objective of Norway’s fisheries management policies.
  • International cooperation – a network of international legal instruments (e.g. UNCLOS) and cooperation agreements.
  • The Arctic: Same basic rules and considerations apply here as elsewhere.
  • A different perspective: The High North. As a political concept (with certain geographical aspects), the High North is elastically defined in the Norwegian Government’s High North Strategy (presented in two policy documents). The Strategy is partly a statement of intents, partly an action programme, including ambitious aims and a broad scope of subject matter.
  • The High North includes i.a. the Barents Sea – home to some of the world’s richest fish resources, which are also the mainstay of value-creation, employment and livelihood of the population of esp. Northern Norway. These are also core objectives of the High North Strategy.
  • Responsible management of resources and the environment in the High North is also a transboundary consideration, entailing the need for regional and international cooperation. Such cooperation on fisheries management is well developed in the Barents Sea and adjacent seas.
  • Rational management of marine, maritime and coastal issues necessitates a broad approach, encompassing and reconciling interests of fisheries, sea transport and petroleum industry. The key-word is co-existence within the parameters of sustainable development.
  • Norway’s Integrated Management Plan for the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea aims at facilitating long-term value-creation based on the sustainable use of the marine resources, while preserving the structures and productivity of their ecosystems.
  • The Central Arctic Ocean: No imminent resource management needs, nor a legal void. Such is the position of the 5 coastal states, spelled out in the May 2008 Ilulissat Declaration.


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    Willem Barentsz Poolinstituut

    Bundeling van kennis, onderzoek en onderwijs over de Noord- en de Zuidpool

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