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Arctic Yearbook 2012
Thawing Ice and French Foreign Policy: A Preliminary Assessment
covered by a number of international fisheries management regimes, no such international
regimes exist for managing fisheries in the more northerly areas other than the inclusion of
the Atlantic sector of the Central Arctic Ocean within the NEAFC Convention Area” (ibid).
Another important factor to consider when discussing these issues is that Arctic fisheries
and development and research today deal with “two major planning areas: 1) colder Arctic
Ocean areas closer to Alaska, Canada and Eastern Russia; and 2) warmer Arctic Ocean areas
closer to Norway, Western Russia and portions of Greenland” (Watson, 2009). Finally,
experts have identified potential organizations that could contribute to further deepen
research, discussions and options for fisheries in the Arctic (by non-Arctic states like
France). Those mentioned include:
The Arctic Council
working groups: Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna
(CAFF), Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) and Arctic
Monitoring Assessment Programme (AMAP);
The North East Atlantic Fisheries Council
(since the Ilulissat Declaration was
referenced for regional Arctic Ocean governance (via A5 coastal states), experts
suggest that cross-sector eco-system based ocean management could possibly fall
under the Arctic Council or the OSPAR Convention).
North Pacific Marine Science Organization
International Arctic Science Committee
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
While France remains “attentive to any initiative that allows greater protection of the Arctic,
based on existing legal instruments or new ones” (République française, 2009), it has also
asserted an interest in broadening to the Arctic maritime zone the geographical limits of
RFMOs like the framework of the North-East Atlantic RFMO, where the EU is already a
member (and represents the interests of the EUs 27 members); and the North-Western
Atlantic RFMO regime where France is a member (but not the EU) via the islands of St-
Pierre-et-Miquelon (adjacent to Canadian waters). There are actually a total of nine
geographical RFMO zones that manage fish stocks in the high seas. According to Michel
Rocard, it could take up to ten years to establish new or enlarged regimes. France is
proposing a Mediterranean model-inspired regime for the Arctic (République française,
On governance and environmental protection, the assessment and planning processes
attached to the impacts of increased oil and gas activities in the Arctic is a growing issue of