South Korea was the sixth state to ratify the agreement, after Russia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Japan. In accordance with the provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, coastal states can exercise responsibility for fishing areas 200 miles from the coast. In some cases, the EEZs of neighbouring and/or opposite states are geographically developed to completely encircle a “high seas” area outside their fishing jurisdiction. Although each state`s ships are in principle fully surrounded by the EEZ states, they have the right to fish in these high seas areas, unless they have an international agreement that otherwise disposes of them. Indeed, given the operational nature of these agreements, there is no significant overlap between these agreements and the Central Fisheries Agreement on the Arctic Ocean. Although the scientific cooperation agreement is expected to be relevant by name, it is intended to involve the movement of humans and means equipment between the Arctic states and would not be relevant to a deep-sea scientific program in the central Arctic Ocean, determined by the freedom of marine scientific research under UNCLOS. To highlight the area, the Central Arctic Ocean is the largest high-seas region in the Arctic, it is entirely surrounded by the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (for Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States, and covers an area of about 2.8 million square kilometres – almost as large as the Mediterranean Sea. The parties agree to allow their own vessels to fish in the international part of the central Arctic Ocean until international conservation and management measures are adopted. The agreement will be part of the existing international legal framework for the rights and obligations of states in international waters. The legally binding agreement to prevent unregulated deep-sea fishing in the central Arctic Ocean was signed on October 3, 2018 in Ilulissat, Greenland.
As soon as it enters into force, the agreement requires the parties not to allow a vessel flying its flag to fish commercially in the high seas area of the central Arctic Ocean. The agreement is valid for a maximum of sixteen years renewable in five-year increments. This agreement is an important part of the global fisheries management framework. It sets precautions before fishing begins in the area. This will avoid the problems the world has encountered in other areas where unregulated fishing activities have developed in the past,” said Emil Ingebrigtsen, Minister of Fisheries Inland. A notable difference between the three agreements negotiated under the Arctic Council and the Central Fisheries Agreement on the Arctic Ocean is membership. The signatories to the fisheries agreement do not reflect the membership of the Arctic Council, but consist of Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Norway, the Russian Federation, the United States, Iceland, China, Japan, Korea and the European Union.