Headline: Polar seas: governing extreme change in the Arctic and Southern Oceans

This chapter analyses the challenges of extreme change in the Arctic and Southern Oceans. In both regions, warming seas, declining sea ice and acidification of waters are adversely affecting the distribution of marine species. The specific long-term impacts on fisheries are uncertain, but the generally increasing pace and scale of change appear to be inevitable. Due to the loss of sea ice, human activities in polar seas, such as shipping, fishing, tourism, and exploration for (and extraction of) hydrocarbons, are increasing and will accelerate in the future. The chapter describes existing governance frameworks for polar seas and notes that ecosystem-based approaches are being promoted by the Arctic Council and the Antarctic Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Existing barriers to effective conservation of polar marine ecosystems include the desire among actors to exploit newly accessible resources, a lack of international cooperation, and a shortage of scientific information. The use of more collaborative processes and the implementation of new management schemes, including area-based management measures, may help to overcome those barriers.

Publication Year
Publication Type
Monographs and Edited Volumes

Wienrich, N., McDonald, H., Riedel, A., Packeiser, T., & Hennicke, J. (2022). Polar seas: governing extreme change in the Arctic and Southern Oceans. In P. G. Harris (Ed.), Routledge handbook of marine governance and global environmental change (pp. 217-227). New York, NY: Routledge.

Projects involved
Marine Conservation in the Arctic