Climate change may have a complex set of influences on both the flux and fate of contaminants in the Barents Sea. Increasing temperatures, changing wind systems and ocean currents, changing precipitation regime, melting sea ice, glaciers, ice-caps, and thawing permafrost, will all affect the transport, deposition, remobilization, and flux of contaminants between air and water, as well as environmental stability, ecosystem structure, bioavailability, bioaccumulation, bio-magnification, transformation, degradation, and toxicity (Macdonald et al., 2005; Noyes et al., 2009; UNEP/AMAP, 2011; Kallenborn et al., 2012; Moe et al., 2013; Stahl et al., 2013).
Major stocks supporting fisheries in the Barents Sea are also shared stocks between Russia and Norway. A key challenge is to create the basis for an optimal and effective management regime for these shared fishery resources, including rational harvesting of cod and other important stocks. During the late 1970s, cooperation on management of shared fish stocks was instituted through the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission (JNRFC), formally established in 1975.
Continued careful monitoring and evaluation of essential components will be necessary to determine the changing status of the Barents Sea ecosystem and the effectiveness of management actions — whether or not management strategies improve ecosystem services and sustainability. Monitoring objectives for ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) and integrated ecosystem assessment (IEA) will likely include data collection to support:ecosystem models which can
Along with climate change, anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing acidification of the world oceans, because CO2 reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid. Due to the increased atmospheric CO2 concentration, the average pH-value of the surface waters of the global oceans has decreased from pH 8.2 to pH 8.1 since the onset of industrial revolution. This ocean acidification is extremely rapid in northern sea areas compared to other global oceans. It is expected that organisms living at high latitudes will be among the first affected.
Historically, management by sector and uncoordinated plans for development have lowered effectiveness of some types of ocean use activities; this has led to latent conflicts and negative ecological consequences for marine resources in Russia. Hence, a Strategy for the Development of maritime activities of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2030 was approved by the Federal Government in December, 2010 (№ 2205-p); this Strategy guides the development of
Fisheries and other harvesting are drivers that have major impact on the Barents Sea ecosystem. These activities have a long history dating back to the early 17th century when large scale whaling activity started. In centuries which followed, whaling and other hunting led to the near extinction of several whale stocks and other marine mammals such as bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus), North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), and walruses (Odobenus rosmarius).
Over the last 50 years, air temperatures have increased almost twice as fast in the Arctic than the global average. Models predict that air temperatures will continue to increase considerably, and summer sea ice in the Arctic is likely to disappear before the middle of this century and winter sea ice by the end of the current century (IPCC, 2013). Because of the complex dynamics of the Barents Sea ecosystem, and because the effects of climate change will interact with other major factors, such as
The summary presented below is based on Integrated Management of the Marine Environment of the Barents Sea and the Sea Areas off the Lofoten Islands (Report No. 8 (2005–2006) to the Storting. Russian version: Комплексное управление морской средой Баренцева моря и морских районов, прилегающих к Лофотенским островам (план управления). Доклад правительства Стортингу No 8 (2005–2006).
International agreements and conventions, both globally and regionally, are of major importance to control and reduce pollution of the Barents Sea. These agreements include regulation of activities and restrictions or bans on use of hazardous substances. One of the most important is the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which both Norway and Russia have adopted. It entered into force in 1994 and lays down fundamental international rules for all
Shipping is an extensively international industry. Therefore, global legislations, conventions, and standards which regulate shipping are desirable and play an important role to harmonize the regulations across nations. Major international organisations which contribute to regulations are: IMO (International Maritime Organisation), ILO (the UN’s international workers organisation), and EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency). Regional initiatives are also helpful, such as the