Arial photo of Icelandic coast


The SAO-based Marine Mechanism

Arctic Council advances its marine stewardship role

The Arctic Council launched a new marine cooperative initiative at the end of September to discuss the increasing pressures on the Arctic marine ecosystem and coastal communities in the circumpolar North. Policy makers, Indigenous peoples and marine experts from the Arctic States and the Arctic Council’s Observers gathered online for a five-week webinar series on Arctic marine matters. The interactive online meetings provided a platform for the Arctic Council to enhance cooperation and coordination on marine issues. Learn more.
Screenshot of the SMM participants
New acronym: SMM

SMM stands for Senior Arctic Officials based Marine Mechanism. The SMM is a new marine cooperation initiative that the Arctic Council launched in September 2020. The interactive format brings together marine experts and knowledge holders from across the Arctic States, Indigenous peoples' organizations and from a range of Observer States and Organizations. Jointly with the Senior Arctic Officials and the Permanent Participants they discuss how the Council can pave the way forward on some of the most pressing marine-related issues in the Arctic.

The SMM: An overview in three interviews

Photo of a lighthouse in Iceland

Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials

Ambassador Gunnarsson gives an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the Arctic Council's marine-related work and outlines the way forward.
Zodiacs in glacier bay in Iceland

Mary Frances Davidson and Magnús Jóhannesson, the SMM moderators

The moderators summarize key points and ideas that were presented and discussed during the four thematic webinars that built the backbone of the SMM.
Fishing vessel in Svalbard

Jóhann Sigurjónsson, Co-Chair Task Force on Arctic Marine Cooperation

Jóhann Sigurjónsson was involved in the process that would lead to the establishment of the SMM. He describes the Council's road towards enhanced marine cooperation.

Watch the keynote and expert presentations

The webinar series included pre-recorded keynote addresses and expert presentations that have been shared publicly following each webinar. Watch them here.
Visual of the expert speakers of the third webinar

Indigenous peoples' perspectives on the ocean

Suggestions from the coast: An Inuit perspective

Jim Stotts, president of the Alaskan chapter of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), talks about the importance of the marine environment for Inuit, environmental changes and ICC’s suggestions to adjust the Council’s Arctic Marine Strategic Plan to match challenges that have arisen since the plan was adopted in 2015. Read his interview here.
Fishermen in Greenland

Healthy communities need healthy oceans: An Athabaskan perspective

Chief Gary Harrison is chairman of the Chickaloon Native Village, located North-East of Anchorage, Alaska, and representative of the Arctic Athabaskan Council. As the Arctic Council is enhancing its cooperation on marine issues, we spoke to Chief Harrison about the importance of the ocean to Athabaskan communities and some of his main concerns related to the marine environment. Read his interview here.
Salmon in Alaska

At the doorway to the Arctic: An Aleut perspective

As the northern waterways open up to container vessel traffic, the Aleut people find themselves at the doorstep to Arctic shipping. Once the Northern Sea Route is traversable for more than six months a year, the shorter route to Europe will become profitable to shippers in Japan, Korea and China. This will bring a major shift to global shipping and to the Aleut Region. Read the article.
Photo of the Aleut town Adak

Exploring the Arctic Ocean

The agreement that protects an unknown ecosystem

As the ice continues to retreat, waters of the Arctic Ocean that were previously only accessible to heavy icebreakers could soon open up and attract commercial fishing vessels. Yet, little is known about the ecosystem emerging below the ice. The Arctic coastal states therefore decided to prevent commercial fishing until better scientific knowledge was available and signed the International Agreement to Prevent Unregulated Fishing in the High Seas of the Central Arctic Ocean. Learn more in our interview with Maya Gold.
Arctic sea ice breaking up

Life in the Arctic Ocean

Join Dr Libby Logerwell on an expedition into the waters of the Arctic Ocean. Dr Logerwell is a marine biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Co-Chair of our Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) and one of the experts who joined the Arctic Council’s initiative to enhance marine coordination. Together with her we are exploring the rich life in the Arctic Ocean and the challenges it faces as the habitat changes. Explore the Arctic Ocean now.
Walrus on an ice floe

Featured tools and reports

PAME logoReport on Heavy Fuel Oil in the Arctic

The Arctic Council's Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) issued its second Arctic Shipping Status Report – Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) Use by Ships in the Arctic 2019. The report provides information on fuels used by ships in the Arctic in 2019 with a focus on heavy fuel oils. It shows that 10% of ships in Arctic waters as defined by the International Maritime Organization’s Polar Code burned HFO as fuel. Learn more.
Shipping report cover

EPPR logo
Circumpolar Oil Spill Response Viability Analysis Online Tool

Oil spills are a major concern in the Arctic. Besides the major environmental and social impact on vulnerable human communities and animal species, the harsh conditions in the region can make oil spill response extremely difficult. To improve oil spill response in the Arctic marine environment, the Arctic Council’s Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group conducted a study of oil spill response viability for the circumpolar North and developed an online tool. Learn more.
Ship in Arctic waters

The Arctic Council's social corner

Did you know...

that all of our Working Groups and many of the Permanent Participants are on social media? Thumbs up and like from our side! Have you followed them yet for unique news and insights? 




Copyright © 2020 Arctic Council Secretariat, All rights reserved.

Contact us directly:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp