MarIus 471: Efforts of the Arctic Council to Protect Sensitive Arctic High Sea Areas from the Impact of Shipping
The initiative of the Arctic Council to address IMO measures suited to protect sensitive areas, such as the Arctic high seas, is a promising step to ensure protection of the marine environment. It remains to be seen whether the Arctic states will take on a leading regulatory role and make a proposal to the IMO on the designation of a PSSA (Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas) on the high seas.
The objective of this article is to assess the legal implications of adopting measures to protect the high seas of the Arctic Ocean from the risks posed by international shipping activities, with a particular focus on the use of PSSA.
The authors have presented the concept and criteria for establishing a PSSA and analyzed its applicability in the Arctic high seas. In this regard the application on the high seas, the possible size, the fulfillment of the criteria, ad the possibility to adopt flexible and dynamic associated protective measures are assessed.
The Article concludes that establishing an Arctic high seas PSSA will have a strong symbolic effect. Also PSSA concept provides flexibility and the opportunity to adopt protective measures that are particularly tailored to protect a sensitive area from the risks of international shipping.