Headline: Marine Conservation in the Russian Arctic

Global interest and activity in the Arctic have increased greatly in recent decades. The Arctic is warming three times faster than the global average. These rapidly increasing temperatures are already profoundly changing – and will continue to change – the Arctic, with yet unknown consequences for the people, environment, and economy in the region as well as worldwide (SDWG, 2021). The diminishing sea ice extent and the changing distribution of marine living resources have led to an increase in economic interest in the region as well as concerns about the sustainability of economic activities in the Arctic (Raspotnik et al., 2021). The challenge now is to identify development pathways that can ensure the sustainable use and conservation of the Arctic marine environment (SDWG, 2021). In order to identify ways in which conservation and sustainable use of the Arctic marine environment can be ensured, a broad understanding of the marine environment, the pressures affecting it, and the relevant regulations is needed. Ecologic Institute and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies aim to provide an overview of relevant information through a series of reports on marine conservation in the Arctic. The reports focus on the five Arctic coastal states: Canada, Denmark (by virtue of Greenland), Norway, the Russian Federation, and the United States. In addition, a regional report is providing a broader overview and summarises relevant international and regional regulations. The reports were published in 2022 and are available for download on the websites of the Ecologic Institute and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies. This current report presents an overview of information relevant to marine conservation in the Russian Arctic. The report covers four main issues: it starts with the description of the key characteristics of the Russian Arctic marine environment. Then it examines significant pressures impacting marine biodiversity in the region, followed by exploring the socio-cultural and economic role as well as the environmental impact of the main sea-based human activities in the Russian Arctic. The last part of the report describes the Russian ocean governance system and provides an overview of relevant national institutions as well as rules, regulations and tools which are, or could be, employed to protect marine biodiversity in this region and ensure its sustainable use. NB: The information presented in this report was mainly collated during the global Covid-19 pandemic and prior to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The (further) political and economic impacts of these events and resulting changes in Arctic governance cannot be foreseen at this point in time and it can be expected that some of the developments and trends presented in this report may change substantially.

Publication Year
Publication Type
RIFS Studies

Wienrich, N., & Lukyanova, O. (2022). Marine Conservation in the Russian Arctic. IASS Study, August 2022.

Projects involved
Marine Conservation in the Arctic