Norway's Imperiled Sovereignty Claim Over Svalbard's Adjacent Waters

18(6) German Law Journal 1497-1530 (2017)

34 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017

Date Written: November 16, 2017


The invasive but highly profitable snow crab has made its way into the waters of the High Arctic, precipitating a direct confrontation between the EU and Norway over the interpretation of the 1920 Svalbard Treaty. Norway claims the Treaty does not apply due to its strict interpretation of the Treaty’s terms, which pertain only to the archipelago’s terra firm and territorial sea. The EU claims the Treaty’s equal access and non-discrimination provisions follow the evolution of the international law of the sea, and make the living (and mineral) resources of Svalbard’s surrounding continental shelf and waters open to all states parties to the Treaty. The dispute has gone on for decades, but this Article maintains, through a review of Norway’s increasingly isolated legal and political stance that time is out of joint for Norway and its long-term appropriative design and strategy to territorialize this area of the High North.

JEL Classification: Svalbard Treaty, snow crab, Fishery Protection Zone, continental shelf, High Arctic

Suggested Citation

Rossi, Christopher, Norway's Imperiled Sovereignty Claim Over Svalbard's Adjacent Waters (November 16, 2017). 18(6) German Law Journal 1497-1530 (2017), Available at SSRN:

Christopher Rossi (Contact Author)

University of Iowa College of Law ( email )

Melrose and Byington
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

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