News Archive

pameII2019 forsidaPAME has approved its meeting report from its September 2019 meeting, the PAME-II 2019 Meeting Report.

The Meeting Report contains a summary of the meeting, a list of the meeting participants, the final agenda, a list of documents and the meetings decisions.

Click here to download the report.


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PAME releases first capsule containing a GPS transmitter to simulate how marine litter travels across the ocean

The Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) Working Group launched the first bottle equipped with a GPS transmitter into the Atlantic today 12 September. Called “plastic in a bottle”, the capsule will simulate how marine litter and plastics travel far distances into and out of Arctic waters. The collected data will serve as an outreach tool to create awareness around the growing concerns on marine litter in the Arctic. This first plastic in a bottle was sent off from the Reykjanes peninsula by Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Iceland’s Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources from the Icelandic Coast Guard vessel Thor in conjunction with the PAME Working Group meeting in Reykjavík. Iceland currently holds the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council until 2021 and places a special focus on marine litter and plastics in the Arctic.

The saying “out of sight, out of mind” does not apply to litter that has made their way into the ocean. Currents, streams, waves and wind carry marine litter across the seas. Neither the deep sea nor beaches in the Arctic are exempt from this pollution. However, when it comes to how plastics travel into and out of Arctic waters, our knowledge on the trajectories of this marine litter remains limited. With this capsule PAME is seeking to gain valuable information to better understand this problem.

IMG 2540Over the next few months PAME will be launching more capsules from different locations across the Arctic. The capsules were designed and built by Icelandic engineering firm Verkís. Every day, the GPS transmitter sends a signal allowing viewers to follow the journey of the bottle in real time through an online map on the PAME website. “Our aim is to show how expansively marine litter and plastics can travel and to gain a better understanding of how plastics that originate from far away end up on shores in the Arctic. The project is also a great outreach tool to create awareness around the issue of marine litter and plastics in the Arctic”, said Soffía Guðmundsdóttir, PAME’s Executive Secretary.

The PAME Working Group aims at releasing the remaining capsules in different areas across the Arctic. “We have discussed different areas with experts on oceanography and meteorology and a leading expert in Iceland on ocean currents. According to them, one could not expect an object like the plastic capsules could travel long distances to certain areas with ocean currents. Weather and waves may have substantial effects on the capsules in addition to currents,” explained Soffía.

The first bottle has now embarked on its journey with a proper send-off. At the launch, of the 1st capsule the Iceland’s Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, said:

bottle“Plastics in the oceans is a growing problem. Therefore, it is essential to enhance knowledge on how marine litter travels around the oceans worldwide. The Plastic in a bottle project will give us an important insight in that regard as well as increasing our awareness about plastics in the oceans. Reducing marine litter, in particular plastics, is one of my priorities as a Minister and we have already initiated many actions and are planning even more to that regard. Iceland has also focused on the topic internationally, including within the Arctic Council and our Chairmanship. I believe that is very important.”

Tackling the issue of marine litter and especially plastics in the Arctic is one of the Arctic Council’s priorities during Iceland’s Chairmanship. At the end of its Chairmanship in May 2021, Iceland plans to provide a comprehensive regional action plan on marine litter and plastics in the Arctic to the Ministers of the Arctic Council.

PAME worked closely together with Verkís in developing the bottles. Verkís has been involved in similar projects in the past and has seen its bottles travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean for well over a year – reaching Norway, Scotland and the Faroe Islands after being released from Iceland.

“Verkís is thrilled to take part in conveying such an important message across. We have previously been involved in similar projects with the aim of highlighting how marine litter travels and causes problems across the oceans. One of our capsules travelled over 5000 kilometers and washed ashore in northern Norway, six months later,” Arnór Þórir Sigurðsson, Animal Ecologist at Verkís said.

Once washed ashore, a message inside the bottle will instruct the finder what to do with the bottle.

The live map is online here.

#PlasticInABottle

The project gratefully acknowledges funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers.
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Screenshot 2019 08 16 at 08.45.43“In a special coverage, National Geographic explores the consequences of the Arctic warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, writes editor in chief Susan Goldberg on National Geographic Arctic overage in its September 2019 issue - released online this week.

The issue has multiple Arctic related stories, and one of them on Arctic shipping utilizes data from the ASTD database in its coverage.

PAME has worked closely with National Geographic in utilising the data for the issue.

Among other topics are permafrost, Arctic land claims, Arctic science and Inuit lives in an ice-melting world.

See also:

ASTD website

shutterstock 721816060Registration and call for abstracts for International Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic Region

Reykjavik, 21-23 April 2020

Call for Abstracts is now open and a direct link to the abstract submissions form is here. The deadline for abstract submissions is 1 December 2019.

Registration is now open and a direct link to the registration site is here. The deadline for an early bird registration is 30 September 2019.

Iceland holds both the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council from May 2019 to May 2021 and the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2019. During these two presidencies Iceland intends to promote discussion on ways and means that may reduce the impact of plastics in the Marine Environment, with a special focus on the Arctic Ocean. This emphasis will be reflected in the work of the Arctic Council during the period where Iceland intends to stage an international symposium on plastics in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic region in Reykjavik from 21-23 April 2020.

The symposium will be co-hosted by the Government of Iceland and the Nordic Council of Ministers in collaboration with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), UNEP, OSPAR, IOC UNESCO, IASC, Harvard Kennedy School and PAME, a working group of the Arctic Council. The symposium is expected to provide a most relevant update on plastics in the region, its impact on the marine environment and possible solutions.  

The symposium program outline, registration and call for abstracts can be found on the symposium website: www.arcticplastics2020.is

Feel free to share with your respective communities!

IMG 2243Press Release 4 June 2019

Today, the Arctic Council’s Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum (the Forum) convened for the third time since its inception in 2017, and for the first time since Iceland assumed Chairmanship of the Arctic Council last month.

The purpose of the Forum is to support the effective implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code).  This is accomplished by collecting and posting on a dedicated Web Portal authoritative information relevant to all those involved in safe and environmentally sound Arctic shipping, including shipowners and operators, regulators, classification societies, marine insurers, and indigenous and local communities.

‘From Theory to Practice’ is the theme of this year’s Forum meeting with presentations oriented around practical experiences in implementing the Polar Code with a particular focus on successes, impediments, and remaining challenges.

The Web Portal, accessible at www.arcticshippingforum.is, provides links to carefully selected, reliable information essential to implementation of and compliance with the Polar Code. For example, links are available on hydrographic, meteorological, and ice data information needed to plan for safe and environmentally sound navigation in the Arctic.

Information for the Web Portal has been contributed by many stakeholders, including Arctic States, intergovernmental organizations, classification societies, the shipping industry, marine insurers, and non-governmental organizations. The Web Portal is regularly updated and expanded as new information becomes available.

The Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum was established in 2017 by the eight Arctic States (Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States) to help raise awareness and to promote the effective implementation of the Polar Code.

The Secretary General of the IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, opened the meeting with video remarks highlighting the importance of the Forum’s work and collaboration between the Forum and IMO.  The importance of this collaboration was highlighted by the IMO’s recent accreditation as an Arctic Council Observer, which will further strengthen the two organization’s efforts in support of sustainable Arctic shipping.

Iceland’s Sverrir Konráðsson, the Forum Chair said:

“I am pleased to see the strong interest in the Forum and the evident commitment of its Participants to making it a success. I look forward to building on the substantial progress made to date and further strengthening the Web Portal so that it becomes an indispensable tool for all those involved in Arctic shipping.”

The meeting took place in London from 3-4 June and was hosted by the United States Embassy. For further information about the Forum, its third meeting, and its participants, please visit the Meeting Site.

Screen Shot 2019 05 07 at 08.23.43Today the 11th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting was convened in Rovaniemi, Finland. Minister-level representatives from of the eight Arctic States, the delegations from the Council's indigenous Permanent Participant organizations and the Chairs of the Council’s six Working Groups convened the meeting. At the meeting, Iceland took over the Arctic Council Chairmanship from Finland.

PAME delivered seven ministerial documents for approval:

In addition, the following were submitted as informational documents for the meeting:

All documents are available here.




ASTD logo7 February 2019         

PAME LAUNCHES ARCTIC SHIPPING DATABASE

“Positioning the Arctic Council at the forefront of Arctic shipping data analysis”

www.astd.is

Malmö, Sweden:

Today, the Arctic Council’s Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) launched a comprehensive Arctic shipping activity database. The launch is a significant milestone in PAME’s work to improve knowledge of historical Arctic ship traffic activity and various factors that affect such activity, such as sea ice extent, meteorological and oceanographic conditions, and international regulations.  The database will allow authorized users to analyze vessel traffic patterns, fuel use, and air emissions, among other economic and environmental conditions.

The database includes archived information from 2005 to 2018 and will be updated regularly. Information contained in the ASTD database includes:

  • Number of ships in the Arctic, distances sailed, and hours operated
  • Location of ships, ship routes, and ship speed
  • Ship types, including size and flag
  • Pollution measurements from ships, including CO2 emissions
  • Other environmental information such as sea ice extent

Access to the database, which may be used only for non-commercial purposes, is available to all Arctic Council members, accredited academic institutions, and other recognized research entities.

An example of a product made using data from the ASTD database - an analysis of ships in the Polar Code Area in 2017 - can be seen here: Click here to download.

Comment by PAME Chair Renée Sauvé:

“When PAME released the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report in 2009, it contained data on Arctic shipping activities that had been collected by asking Arctic nations to fill in an Excel spreadsheet.  Now, we are able to use satellites to gather information on shipping traffic in the Arctic. I am confident that the ASTD database will benefit PAME, the Arctic Council, and others by providing an invaluable tool to support a wide range of reports and analyses. The ASTD will increasingly be pivotal as we seek to better understand the growth of Arctic ship traffic in the years to come.”

For more information please visit www.astd.is

EXAMPLE OF GRAPHIC PRODUCED BY USING ASTD DATA – FREE FOR USE

Container ships in the Polar Code area 2014 and 2017



forsidaPameII2018PAME has released its meeting summary from the PAME-ii 2018 meeting in Vladivostok, Russia. It includes a meeting summary, the list of participants, the meeting agenda and the list of documents. 

The report can be seen here.

Information items from the meeting:
  • PAME and CAFF have established a Joint ARIAS (Arctic Invasive Alien Species Strategy and Action Plan) Implementation Coordinating Group (ICG). First meeting in January 2019, looking at potential future projects.
  • PAME is currently updating its recommendations from the 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) Report, the Arctic Ocean Review Final Report (AOR 2013) and the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan (AMSP), in consultation with all other Arctic Council working groups and task forces, as relevant.
  • PAME is preparing the third meeting of the Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum. It will further strengthen the work of the Forum, and its web-portal (www.arcticshippingforum.is).
  • PAME has approved to develop a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Arctic Regional Hydrographic Commission (ARHC), subject to concurrence by the SAOs. Correspondence to start 2019 with ARHC!
  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) gave a presentation at PAME II-2018, and based on this PAME invited the WMO to submit to PAME I-2019 a paper on the Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) scheme, focusing on the number of ships operating in Arctic waters that participate in the scheme and the value of information they collect to enhancing maritime safety.
  • PAME continues to work towards a harmonised implementation of the Polar Code. PAME will compile a list, summarising how each Arctic and Observer State understands and applies in practice the IMO’s Polar Code; encouraged them to continue to work towards a harmonized and effective implementation of the Polar Code.
  • PAME aims to convene a joint submissions by all eight Arctic Council member states on the Regional Reception Facilities Plan (RRFP) – Outline and Planning Guide for the Arctic, to IMO’s MEPC 74 meeting in 2019.
  • The ASTD project is progressing well, its database will be launched in January 2019. Much-waited by PAME’s members.
  • PAME is planning to convene a workshop in 2018 to more systematically engage Observers in PAME’s shipping related work. See the Arctic Council Observers here.
  • Part II of the MEMA project will see a report released in May 2019. It’s one of PAME’s highlight in work with indigenous people.
  • The MEMA database has been launched. It has over 750 documents which was the basis for the MEMA reports. Access the database here: www.memadatabase.is
  • PAME welcomed the Draft Guidelines for Implementing an Ecosystem Approach to Management of Arctic Marine Ecosystem. Based on a recognized need from Arctic Council ministers, the Guidelines will Assist scientists, policy-makers, managers and communities in EA Implementation.
  • PAME is planning a 2nd International EA Conference to be held in Bergen, Norway, in late spring/early summer 2019 has been drafted with a focus on the issue of scale integration in EA implementation.
  • A regional action plan on marine litter is a potential project for the Icelandic Chairmanship in the Arctic Council within PAME. The desktop study on marine litter, including microplastics, will be a PAME deliverable in May 2019. 
  • PAME works towards strengthening the coordination and collaboration with other working groups by inviting them to nominate experts in PAME’s expert groups working on activities of mutual relevance. 

The next PAME meeting will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, in February 2019. 

PRESS RELEASE:

image1Today, the Arctic Council’s Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum launched a public Web Portal to assist in the effective implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code).

The Web Portal, accessible at www.arcticshippingforum.is, provides links to authoritative information essential to implementation of and compliance with the Polar Code.  For example, links are available on hydrographic, meteorological, and ice data information needed to plan for safe and environmentally sound navigation in the Arctic.

Information for the Web Portal was contributed by many stakeholders, including Arctic States, intergovernmental organizations, classification societies, the shipping industry, marine insurers, and non-governmental organizations.  The Web Portal will be regularly updated and expanded as new information becomes available.

The Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum was established in 2017 by the eight Arctic States (Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States) to help raise awareness and to promote the effective implementation of the Polar Code.

Dr. Stefan Micallef, Assistant Secretary-General of the IMO today gave remarks at the second meeting of the Forum highlighting the importance of the Forum´s work and collaboration between the IMO and the Forum to facilitate for a effective implementation of the Polar Code.

Finland’s Anita Makinen, the Forum Chair said:

“I am pleased to see the strong interest in the Forum and the evident commitment of its Participants to making it a success.  I look forward to building on the progress made to date and further strengthening the Web Portal so that it becomes an indispensable tool for all those involved in Arctic shipping.”

The meeting took place in London from 14-15 May and was hosted by the Irish Cultural Centre.  For further information about the Forum, its second meeting, and its participants, please visit the Meeting Site.

forsidaPAME has released a meeting report from its meeting in Quebec City, Canada, last week.

Over 80 participants from Arctic Council Member States, Permanent Participants and Observers participated, in addition to invited experts.

Click here to download the report.

The meeting report includes the meeting decisions (Records of decisions), a list of meeting participants, the agenda for the meeting, and a list of all documents discussed at the meeting.

The PAME meeting reports give great insight into how PAME operates in its meetings, whilst the bulk of the work is done interseassionally. 

The PAME Working Group meets twice per year, with the next meeting being held in Vladivostok, Russia.

Click here to download the report.