Advancing a Network of Marine protected Areas in the Arctic

Advancing a Network of Marine protected Areas in the Arctic

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
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Dates / Project duration

September 2017 - September 2019 / 25 months

Field of action :

Development of marine protected areas

Branch :


Location :


Project sponsor(s) :

Natural Resources Defense Council



This project seeks to take advantage of momentum that has developed over the last three years to advance creation of an ecologically connected network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the context of integrated, ecosystem-based management of emerging human industrial activity in the Arctic Ocean.

MPAs and integrated ecosystem-based management are key tools to bolster the resilience of Arctic marine ecosystems facing ocean warming, loss of sea ice, changes in ocean chemistry, and encroaching human industrial activity.

Growing momentum to deploy these tools is evident within the Arctic Council, where a number of important related scientific and management initiatives that NRDC helped establish are now underway. The recent commitments made by the United States and the new Prime Minister in Canada regarding the Arctic, the likely designation of new MPAs in the Russian Arctic, and progress toward an international agreement to protect the high seas of the Central Arctic Ocean from commercial fishing all reflect growing political will to act.

The upcoming transfer of the Arctic Council Chairmanship in May 2017 from the United States to Finland, a strong supporter of marine conservation, enables NRDC to build on and cement this momentum in the coming two years before Iceland, which is less friendly to marine conservation, takes over the Chairmanship in 2019.