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Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean

22.09.2010 // On 15 September 2010, a treaty between Norway and Russia regarding the bilateral maritime delimitation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean was signed by Foreign Ministers Jonas Gahr Støre and Sergei Lavrov in Murmansk.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and President Dmitry Medvedev attended the historic signing ceremony, along with Fisheries Minister Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, signifying the importance of continued good relations with Russia in the field of fisheries cooperation also in the years to come. The delimitation was the subject of extensive negotiations for 40 years.

As coastal states Norway and Russia have a primary interest in and responsibility for the management of living resources in the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean, in accordance with international law. Norway and Russia are aware of the importance of the traditional fishing in the area and the special importance of the living resources. The treaty will ensure the continuation of the extensive and fruitful Norwegian-Russian fisheries cooperation with regards to living marine resources.

Cooperation is based on agreements between Norway and the Soviet Union, 11 April 1975 and 15 October 1976. Both of these agreements remain in force for fifteen years after the Delimitation Treaty has entered into force and then for another six-year terms, unless terminated by either party. The distribution of quotas will still be under management by the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission. There will be stability in the quota allocation keys and a precautionary approach in the management of shared stocks.
The Grey Zone agreement is a practical mechanism for enforcement and control in a limited area in the Barents Sea. It was first signed between Norway and the Soviet Union 11 January 1978 as a temporary arrangement pending agreement on delimitation. When the Delimitation comes into force, there will no longer be a need for Grey Zone agreement. There will still be a transition period of two years for technical rules for the conduct of fishing in the Grey Zone area.

In addition to this, the Treaty has further provisions regarding cooperation on fisheries and petroleum activities. The Treaty must be approved by the Norwegian Storting and the Russian Duma before it can enter into force.

Map of the area

The text of the treaty

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