The United States is the fourth party to ratify the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas
Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean after Canada, the Russian Federation, and the European
Union. The Agreement will enter into force once all ten Signatories ratify.
There are currently no commercial fisheries in the Arctic high seas, with most of the region
covered by ice year round. However, with an ever-increasing ice-free area in the summer for an
increasingly lengthy portion of the year, parties anticipate that commercial fishing will be
possible in the foreseeable future. This Agreement is the first multilateral agreement of its kind
to take a legally-binding, precautionary approach to protect an area from commercial fishing
before that fishing has even begun.
Signed in Greenland on October 3, 2018, there were ten participants in the negotiation of the
Agreement: Canada, the People’s Republic of China, the Kingdom of Denmark (in respect of the
Faroe Islands and Greenland), the European Union, Iceland, Japan, the Kingdom of Norway, the
Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. The Agreement
has two principal objectives: the prevention of unregulated fishing in the high seas portion of the
central Arctic Ocean and the facilitation of joint scientific research and monitoring.