Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 271

271 Arctic Yearbook 2015 The concept appeals to non-Arctic states, for all states are required to respect the Area’s international nature, but are also entitled to participate in its management and wealth. The concept’s territorial scope is however limited to the Area, that is, “the seabed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction” (LOSC: article 1 (1)). The concept therefore only applies beyond the continental shelves’ outer limits. The coastal states’ extensive claims on the Arctic continental shelves suggest that there will be only small pockets of the Area left in the Arctic Ocean (see following map; see also Kullerud et al. 2013). What is more, located in the middle of the ocean, likely to remain under permanent ice for some time and arguably not very resource-rich, thee pockets currently seem of little economic interest. It is the indiscriminate way the common heritage of mankind is referred to in recent debates that make these statements questionable. Considering “the Arctic Ocean” a common heritage of mankind conflates the different maritime zones and ignores the sophisticated distinctions in the law of the sea. It is no less legally inaccurate to regard “the high seas of the Arctic Ocean” as a common heritage of mankind. The high seas, although not subject to sovereignty either (LOSC: article 89), are governed by the principle of freedom of the seas (LOSC: article 87). It is of course possible for the international community to collectively limit the freedom. The ‘Arctic Five’, for example, recently appealed in the Declaration concerning the prevention of unregulated high seas fishing in the central Arctic Ocean (2015) to the international community to join efforts to protect Arctic living resources. Under the auspices of the UN General Assembly,