Three major challenges in managing non-native sedentary Barents Sea snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)

Marine Policy, Vol 71, 2016, pp. 38-43.

Snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio), a sedentary non-native species is colonizing the Barents Sea continental shelf and may reach a yearly landed value of NOK 7.5 billion. However, Norway has not yet established a management regime as the new stock poses several challenges, of which three are treated here. The first challenge is that non-native species threaten global biodiversity. The second challenge is that the stock spreads across a continental shelf shared between Norway and Russia, harvested outside economic zones and has status as sedentary. The third challenge is that a large part of the future fishery is expected to take place around Svalbard, an area of highly disputed resource rights. For now no hazardous ecosystem effects have been detected and as the species is not considered to be introduced by people, the coastal states are not obliged to control it by UNCLOS or CBD. There is an agreement between the coastal states on the Loophole snow crab fishery, but as Norway has not yet established a management regime, it seems as the country is reluctant to consolidate the sovereignty the country claims to the continental shelf surrounding Svalbard.