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UTENRIKS-Internasjonale forhold - utenriks- og sikkerhetspolitikk og norske interesser

Spatial shifts of marine stocks and the resilience of polar resource management - Russian perspectives on stock shifts and zonal attachment

Alternative title: Fiskebestandsforflytninger og regimeresiliens: russiske perspektiver på bestandsforflytninger og sonetilhørighet

Awarded: NOK 2.0 mill.

In recent years, cod and other fish stocks in the Barents Sea have extended their distribution towards the north and east. Climate change is probably an important driver. Cyclic changes in the regional ocean temperatures have been observed before, but this time around, we may be talking about long-term climate changes, and possibly also long-term changes in the distribution pattern of the stocks. If that is so, what are the likely consequences for the Norwegian-Russian fisheries management regime in the Barents Sea? Norway and Russia have split the cod quota on a 50/50 basis since the regime was established. Could the stock shifts result in Russian demands for changes in this allocation key? Thus far, there are no signs of this happening. Both parties consider fixed allocation keys an important stabilizing element. In addition, many Russian scientists have been sceptical to the idea of anthropogenic global warming. This, however, may be changing.

The investigation of Russian perspectives on stock shifts in the Barents Sea, and on quota allocation criteria (in particular: zonal attachment), will add to the growing body of literature on stock shifts and their consequences. For Norway, it is crucial to be aware of Russian perspectives and perceptions that may influence the bilateral cooperation in the Barents Sea, including quota sharing arrangements with Russia. The project has enabled established experts in the field to update and add to their knowledge in view of recent Developments. Hence, a main result of the project is the maintenance and extension of knowledge in Norwegian academia on some of the most salient questions at the moment for the development of Russian/Norwegian fisheries relations. This competence is available to Norwegian authorities and fishing industry, as well as the media and public at large. Additional peer reviewed publications are expected on this topic, where STOCKSHIFT-RUSS has provided the groundwork.

Climate change and other environmental factors are currently causing variability in the spatial distribution of fish stocks in Arctic waters. In the Barents Sea, cod is expanding northeastwards, while in the Norwegian Sea significant changes in abundance, distribution and migration patterns can be observed in pelagic species such as mackerel and herring. These developments put established management regimes under pressure. In this truly interdisciplinary research endeavour, leading scientists from political science, marine biology and international law join efforts to study the resilience of Arctic marine resource management institutions to large-scale shifts of major marine stocks. How is climate change affecting distributional shifts of Arctic fish stocks - are there any general patterns of movement, adaptability and recruitment? To what extent do shifts in migratory patterns influence the fit between the spatial scope of existing international management regimes and the fishing activities they seek to govern? How does continued effectiveness require adaptation within the complexes of institutions that co-govern commercial activities in Arctic marine ecosystems? STOCKSHIFT-RUSS builds on the existing research that takes place under the STOCKSHIFT project financed by the POLARPROG programme for 2016-2019, but extends its empirical scope. It focuses on Russian perceptions and perspectives related to stock shifts in the Barents and Norwegian Seas, including i) trends in Russian fisheries science regarding factors that influence stock size and distribution; ii) Russian perspectives on the pressing issue of how to define "zonal attachment" in the Law of the Sea.

Funding scheme:

UTENRIKS-Internasjonale forhold - utenriks- og sikkerhetspolitikk og norske interesser