The Snow Crab drama continues….

The Snow Crab drama continues….

rachel-tiller-svalbardRachel Tiller, REGIMES research and work package leader, has recently been cited in two very interesting articles:
Rachel comments on the recent legal decision that the benthic (ground-crawling and bottom-dwelling) nature of snow crab gives it a different legal status under the Svalbard Treaty (of 1920) than, say, fish. In this sense, snow crab has the legal equivalent of oil and natural gas rights as part of the continental shelf and not part of the water column. So future decisions on how to interpret the Svalbard Treaty in regards to snow crab will also be valid for how to share oil.

The big concern for Norway is that the shellfish sets a legal precedent. If outsiders can come in and scoop up the crab, that also wins them the right to hunt for oil, gas and other minerals.

screenshot-2017-06-27-12-38-53Part of the reason for the legal concern is that crab stocks are classified differently from fish. Because they live a sedentary life on the seafloor, they are seen as a resource belonging to the continental shelf. If the EU or other countries stake a successful legal claim to the crab, then it would be harder to challenge their entitlement to mineral resources.

“The snow crab is a test. What happens now decides what will happen in every other issue,” said Rachel Tiller, a scientist at the SINTEF Ocean group, a research institute headquartered in the Norwegian port of Trondheim.

The Express article states:
According to US government estimates, the Arctic holds 22 per cent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas deposits.
So, our topics of geo-political sharing of marine ecosystem services in the REGIMES project is becoming more and more relevant, as we expected!
 Stay tuned for more updates!

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