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Arctic Yearbook 2012
ecosystems and biodiversity have impacts well beyond the Arctic (CAFF 2010, Finding 7). In current
times, changes in the High North are influencing fish migration patterns, creating resource
governance tensions, such as that over the mackerel. Meanwhile, climate change has the potential to
affect the ecological and physical parameters of Scotland’s marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Historical, economic and cultural connections are longstanding, Caithness having been fought over
with the Norse until 1266; Orkney and Shetland remaining in Norwegian jurisdiction until the 15
century. Living marine resources have been and continue to be shared. Northern Scottish dialects are
replete with Norse words that are unknown further south and the second most northerly mainland
county, Sutherland, is so named as the “land to the South.” Cultural ties are maintained through
Viking festivals such as Up Helly Aa (Shetland) and Da Doonie Day (Thurso); and arts partnerships
such as North Highland Connections. On the other side of the Atlantic, Scottish emigrants settled in
Atlantic Canada, most famously in Nova Scotia where Scottish traditions, including folk music and
the Highland Games, are still widely celebrated. Scientific and political exchanges are well
established, historically through Scots explorers such as John Rae and Alexander MacKenzie and in
contemporary academic and intellectual links through, for example, the Northern Periphery
Programme (European Regional Development Fund, 2008), university cooperation, and Nordic
Scotland shares contemporary challenges with other non-independent Northern nations. Economic
difficulties include population sparsity; population decline in a state elsewhere concerned to
“contain” immigration; leakage; dependence
on a market to the South over which it has little
control; and macro-economic policy led by distinct Southern interests and objectives (Duhaime,
2004; Huxley, 2010). Scotland can learn from the experiences, both positive and negative, of other
Northern economies in managing conflicts over land and marine use between traditional activities
and resource extraction such as energy production, and to ensure that the benefits of development
remain in the North and are equitably distributed, especially as the current Scottish government
views renewable energy as a key to a self-reliant Scottish economy (Scottish Government, 2011f).
Political interests are shared with other self-governing regions, both indigenous and non-indigenous,
in particular, those seeking greater autonomy.
An introduction pointing to Scotland’s interests in the Arctic must be subtle so as not to appear as
though Scotland is demanding something. This might be politically easier for Scotland than it would
be for a UK strategy given the latter’s military capacity and colonial legacy. Nevertheless, with regard