Marine Resource Governance in the Archtic (2015)

Project: Research

Project Details


Our ambition is to bring together academic experts on the economics of living marine resources and the Arctic ocean with on-the-ground resource managers and policy makers in the region to improve and advance understanding of how management of these valuable resources will be affected by changes in accessibility to the region and to develop flexible, ecosystem-integrated management solutions. The overall purpose of the project is to identify and
provide guidance in solving the main governance challenges of the marine living resources in the Arctic Ocean with reduced ice presence. There are a variety of scales for marine resource use that should be considered directly pertinent to the Nordic states, from local indigenous populations that have historical use claims to the Nordic states, with their differing obligations on governance at the regional scale, and even at the global level as driven by growing global demand for the resources present in the Arctic. Economic theory and application thereof have led to insights on both managed and wild resources, from endangered through invasive species, though to date little of this research has focused on Arctic resources. What has been done in terms of ecosystem based economic resources has generally been more limited in scope, such as discussion of an individual commercial resource, and generally is not focused on Nordic or Arctic state and community coordination (see project description). There is much room to advance and inform research in this field. The ecosystem changes underway in the Arctic region are expected to have significant impacts on living resources in both the short and long run, and current actions and policies adopted by the Nordic states over such resource governance will have serious and ultimately irreversible consequences in the near and long terms. In particular, the breadth and scope of integration of science and political economy into the formulation of strategies for economic
resource use and preservation will determine the outcomes of such policies. For example, policies to contain an invasive species in one nation’s waters will be limited in effectiveness by decisions of neighbouring nations as well as by the ecological context of the invasion. Coordinated resource policy across space and time is therefore essential to maximizing the full economic value, including potential non-use and indirect-use values, of the living resources
of the Arctic Ocean as the base productivity undergoes ecological changes. We will use an ecosystem based and strategic approach to analyse harvesting practices, invasive species and pollution issues and describe opportunities for marine conservation. So, we will work with a broader group than traditional resource economists, in particular including on-the-ground managers, which in our opinion is required and necessary. We have held our first meeting
on marine resource economics in the Arctic Ocean (October, 2013), our second meeting on spatial marine resource management in the Arctic (September, 2014) and we are currently arranging a somewhat broader Arctic marine resource governance conference for October, 2015. From each meeting we will publish articles in a range of outlets and formats. Specifically, we intend a review article covering each topic, a special issue of a journal or edited volume for each topic including articles from the workshop participants, and a white paper targeted to policy makers. In 2013 our workshop addressed invasive species and we have published a TemaNord report on this topic:
Marine Invasive Species in the Arctic (Temanord 2014:547). As with many externalities, invasive species have been understudied, cause significant threat to the ecological and economic environment in the Arctic by damaging ecosystems (habitats for productive and valuable resources) as well as direct economic resources, and require cooperative solutions that demand management a range of activities from early detection and rapid response through mitigation and adaptation. The inflicted damages are not only a function of ecological change but also of human
activity, including a range of moral hazard (information) and property rights problems that can exacerbate and accelerate the problem. The bottom-line challenge of invasive species lies in the irreversible changes to productivity stemming from the changes in biodiversity composition. As such they provide a focused yet complex model of the broader resource issues under climate change. The second workshop, in Sept., 2014, focused on spatial issues of resource management and followed a similar strategy to the first. Some participants showed how bioeconomic
models based on large, spatially homogeneous fish stocks can be updated by metapopulation models that incorporate a rich array of linkages defined over multiple spatial and temporal scales. Invasive species obviously have a spatial component and so the second workshop built on and expanded upon the first, particularly with more development of the Red King Crab and Snow Crab cases in the Barents. As spatial issues include also the different fishery sectors and economies in the Arctic these cases also help inform potential bioeconomic modelling. The participants of the conference are in the process of submitting a journal article detailing the challenges and
opportunities in Arctic spatial management issues. In 2015 we will focus on Arctic marine resource governance and will again follow a similar strategy, but will be on a larger scale and run as a conference. This topic brings together the previous two and provides the broadest opportunity for presenting knowledge on general resource governance in the Arctic, and builds on the increased depth of understanding of the bio-economic processes at work that we have covered in the earlier workshops.

Layman's description

Effective start/end date04/05/201531/05/2016