With climate change and other environmental stressors already being placed on the Arctic, it is imperative that any additional industrial activity be undertaken in a manner that ensures the protection of ecosystems and the subsistence way of life. Industrial shipping is a primary source of marine ecosystem degradation globally and has the potential to cause major impacts to the Arctic including oil spills; invasive species introduction; marine mammal strikes; and air, water, and noise pollution. With a predicted increase in shipping throughout the Arctic, Oceana is advocating for a comprehensive Arctic shipping strategy that prioritizes the protection of the marine environment and prevention of accidents; sets stringent limits for air, noise, light, and water pollution; protects the subsistence way of life; and utilizes proper management measures designed to protect Important Ecological Areas.
Since our inception, Oceana has advocated to ensure that Arctic shipping is undertaken in a manner that is protective of the region’s marine environment and communities. We have worked on a variety of projects to achieve this goal, including:
- contributing to the development and implementation of the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment
- working at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption of an Energy Efficient Design Index
- working at the Arctic Council and IMO to develop a mandatory Polar Code for shipping
- representing the conservation community on the Aleutian Island Risk Assessment and helping lead the development of a proposal to designate the Aleutians as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area
- partnering with regional Inuit organizations in Alaska to identify Important Ecological Areas using both “western” science and Local and Traditional Knowledge in order to better protect the areas from shipping impacts
- working with the U.S. Coast Guard and community stakeholders on a Port Access Route Study to develop management measures that help protect the Bering Strait