Fish going North: new routes, new trade, new disease in the Arctic

Ms Alexandra Carleton1

1NA, Sydney, Australia

This presentation addresses the development of maritime emerging pathogeneses in the Arctic, particularly in relation to fish and fisheries and possibly the use of the SPS protocol in formulating further Arctic law. Research shows as the waters at the northern latitudes warm, fish migrate further north carrying with them new pathogens. As access to the High North increases, industry, aquaculture and tourism may add a potential pollution burden through waste, ballast and infrastructure. Terrestrial research in the Arctic has shown that  emerging pathogeneses in the High North, through species translocation and increased human activity, occur as warming temperature increases access to fragile and previously remote areas, altering the species dynamic and testing the resilience of local species. Impacts on marine life and wild fish stocks are yet to be fully understood. Understanding translocated and emerging pathogeneses in the Arctic is important not simply from a health and disease perspective but also because disease in livelihood products will effect local Arctic and sub-Arctic peoples. Both the local livelihood dimension and the inherent value of our endemic fauna needs to be remembered in any formulation of law and policy research in the Arctic.


I am a current candidate for the DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) at the University of Sydney, Australia and currently completing a research project pathogenic outbreak among equines. I have written on emerging disease in Arctic fauna and in 2017 presented at the Polar Law Symposium on the development of surveillance of emerging pathogens in the Arctic. My interest in the Polar Regions was cemented after spending 2013 in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. Formerly, I was a lawyer in Sydney and London working on international aspects of dispute resolution and completing research into natural resources governance and constitutionality at Cambridge University.

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