The Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries Agreement (CAOFA) is a groundbreaking international treaty designed to manage and protect the fish populations in the Arctic Ocean. The agreement was signed in 2018, after years of negotiations between the five Arctic coastal states (Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States) and five non-coastal states (China, Japan, South Korea, Iceland, and the European Union).
The CAOFA aims to prevent unregulated commercial fishing in the central Arctic Ocean until scientific research can confirm that sustainable fishing can be carried out without harming the fragile Arctic ecosystem. It establishes a joint program of scientific research and monitoring to determine the size and health of the fish populations in the central Arctic Ocean and the effects of climate change on the marine ecosystem.
The agreement also requires that the signatories provide the necessary resources to implement the joint research program, including funding, equipment, and personnel. In addition, it establishes a framework for the governance of any future commercial fishing in the central Arctic Ocean, including the establishment of a regional fisheries management organization.
The CAOFA is an important step towards protecting the fragile Arctic ecosystem from the impacts of commercial fishing, which could disrupt the delicate balance of the region`s food web. It also serves as an example of successful international cooperation to address pressing global environmental issues.
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