An Overview of Arctic Legal Regime Regarding the Protection of the Marine Environment and Some Suggestions

Ekrem Korkut, Lara B. Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose—This article considers whether international law and the Law of the Sea have sufficient rules to protect the Arctic marine environment, and if so, to what extent. Design, Methodology, Approach—With regards to the Law of the Sea, major issues in the Arctic that are present or impending, include (1) outer continental shelf claims; (2) passage rights through the Arctic Straits; (3) protection of marine biodiversity; (4) protection of the marine environment; and (5) military activities in the Arctic. In this research, we focus solely on the protection of the Arctic marine environment. Findings—Although the Arctic states have adopted the 2011 Maritime Search and Rescue Agreement in order to assist each other in the event of a disaster, they have yet to establish infrastructure adequate to accomplish that goal. Moreover, there is no established mandatory or voluntary shipping routing system for the Arctic marine area. Practical Implications—The authors believe that until after above problems have been eliminated, the current Law of the Sea rules in the Arctic are not adequate to protect the Arctic marine environment and maritime safety. Originality, Value—The Polar Code entered into force on 1 January 2017. In the present article, we analyze the legal gaps regarding the protection of Arctic marine environment and maritime safety after the entrance of the Polar Code.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-84
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Territorial and Maritime Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law

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