Page 134 - yearbook pdf

This is a SEO version of yearbook pdf. Click here to view full version

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »
Arctic Yearbook 2012
An Arctic Strategy for Scotland
is no Scottish control over quotas, Scotland’s fishing ports, particularly Peterhead and Scrabster, are
important landing hubs not only for Scottish vessels but also Faroese and Icelandic boats. An Arctic
strategy might consider actions to increase the level of activity.
Shipping and Transport
Notwithstanding the gradual melting of the Arctic Ocean’s ice-sheet, the development of the Arctic
Ocean as a regular thoroughfare is still some way off, given the persistent difficulties of the routes,
the unpredictability of the weather (and consequent seasonal melting and freezing of the ice), and the
lack of adequate port services en route (Lasserre, 2009). Nevertheless, given the time involved in
constructing deep-water harbours and associated infrastructure, the Scottish government, having
devolved control over transport, would be wise to assess the costs and benefits of developing its own
harbours as potential transhipment hubs. By way of comparison, Norway’s Arctic strategy contains
well-developed analysis and policy regarding transport and infrastructure in its North (Norway, 2006:
Further development of Scrabster along current lines, for example, would in some way compensate
Caithness for the gradual decommissioning of the county’s main direct and indirect source of
employment, the Dounreay nuclear site (Scrabster Port Services, 2011a; Scrabster Port Services,
2011b). However, Scrabster will only become a viable port to connect to wider European markets if
major investment is made in road and rail networks. Meanwhile, Invergordon and Aberdeen are
more realistic for freight connections. At this point, a strategy could point to actions to review the
economic feasibility of developing Scotland as a shipping hub, taking into account competition from
neighbouring countries. Both Denmark and Iceland show interest in developing their own shipping
support industries to serve the Arctic (Iceland, 2011; Denmark, 2011). In respect of access, Scotland
would be unlikely to deviate from the UK’s position that the Northwest Passage (NWP) and the
Northern Sea Route (NSR) are international straits, but there is no major Scottish freight shipping
Scotland should take a keen interest in the development of a Polar Code, not least to protect its
fisheries although any formal treaty would have to be ratified at UK level (IMO, 2011). An oil spill in
the Arctic can do as much economic damage through perceptions of contamination as from physical
pollution (compare Heininen, 2010a: 234, on nuclear contamination). Strict, mandatory measures
would also support the use of Sub-Arctic harbours as transit shipping hubs.