Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 182

182 Arctic Yearbook 2015 Northward migration, on the other hand, seems to explain the introduction of the Hanasaki King (spiny) Crab (Paralithodes brevipes), first witnessed in Norton Sound, AK in 2003, and growing to a population large enough that the state of Alaska allowed commercial fishing for the crabs in 2014 (Campbell & Regnart 2014; Webb 2015). The state is concerned about effects of this less marketable crab on the other Alaska King Crab harvests (Webb 2015). Its formal inclusion in the fishery allows for greater oversight, yet could exacerbate the ecological and economic consequences if private capture of market benefits increases incentives to accommodate the species’ introduction into the ecosystem rather than extinguish its presence. Institutions and policies towards invasion threats in Arctic Coastal states Besides regional and national policies on reducing risks of marine invasions, the first coordinated effort on an international level originates from IMO’s BWM Convention which was adopted in 2004 (Miller 2014). It is worth mentioning that despite not having entered into force, awaiting ratification from more than 30 maritime countries constituting 35% of the global shipping merchant tonnage, there are already 44 contracting states the combined merchant fleets of which constitute approximately 32.86% of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant fleet (IMO 2015), which practically means that it might actually be ratified shortly. As for the Arctic region, not all eight member states of the Arctic Council have ratified the IMO BWM Convention (the U.S and Iceland have not, Finland has signed though not ratified), which might look discouraging at first for a consistently organized fight against invasions in the pristine Arctic marine environment, but in practice at least, the federal regulations in the U.S. require mandatory ballast water reporting and ballast water treatment verification through the U.S. Federal Clean Water Act. There seems to exist among the Arctic states a common acknowledgment of the risk for marine invasions as well as of basic principles of ballast water management that help minimize risks (Miller 2014). Unfortunately, those risks arising from invasions are not stressed in the Polar Code; rather it pertains mostly to separate sovereign Arctic countries over search, rescue and operation safety (Fernandez 2014). The Polar Code applies to ships active in the Arctic and Antarctic, and is expected to enter into force within the next 2 years. The first draft, released in January 2014, has so far received a great deal of criticism for leaving out significant environmental threats arising from maritime activities, including marine invasions from ballast water discharge, hull fouling and development of maritime structures (Miller 2014). Recently, (68th session 11-15 May 2015), MEPC (IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee) adopted the environmental requirements of the Polar Code through existing MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) amendments, aside from the safety and rescue requirements of SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea). The Polar Code still lacks any component regarding maritime requirements regarding the threat of marine species invasions. With sea ice becoming less reliable as a permanent natural barrier, the impacts of activities in the Arctic, including fishing, shipping, tourism, resource extraction, etc., rank very highly in importance both with respect to the economic future of the Arctic, and the threat of marine invasive species, particularly for Arctic Coastal states. Already highlighted in the report by CAFF (2013), both Canada and U.S. seem to be aware of how costly invasions can prove out, with billions of dollars in expected annual damages from invasive species. Fernandez (2007, 2008, 2011, 2014) includes these countries in analyses of the Towards Arctic Resource Governance of Marine Invasive Species