Arctic Yearbook 2015
that lies at the centre of the Arctic region (e.g. Ilulissat Declaration 2008), only one of its 320
articles acknowledges that parts of the ocean are, for at least part of the year, not liquid. Article
234 gives coastal states exceptional environmental powers in portions of their exclusive economic
zones where the persistence of “ice-cover” for “most of the year” poses a hazard to navigation.
However, even this article contains lacunae that complicate effective implementation: what is
meant by “ice-cover”? At what point would melting due to climate change render an area not “icecovered” for “most of the year”? How do these provisions relate to other provisions in UNCLOS,
such as those governing international straits? Can Article 234 inform legal practice in other areas
where UNCLOS implementation is complicated by the presence of ice (e.g., the role of ice edges
in determining baselines)? How does Article 234 reflect (or fail to reflect) the concerns of users
other than commercial shipping interests, such as indigenous inhabitants, for whom ice is not a
hazard but an enabler of livelihoods? (Aporta 2011; Byers 2013; Kay 2004; Steinberg et al. 2015).
For all these reasons, it is apparent that UNCLOS provides, at best, a starting point for regulating
activities in ice-covered maritime regions. But if UNCLOS is not fully up to the task, how might
it be supplemented, or interpreted, or replaced to better re