The Central Arctic Ocean (CAO) is one of the most remote regions on Earth. Located at the top of the world, these international waters are a global commons, a high-seas region where no commercial fishing has been conducted. The CAO is bounded by the 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones of five Arctic Ocean coastal states (Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, Russia, and the United States). The five national boundaries create a “donut hole” within the Arctic Ocean of approximately 1.08 million square miles, an area slightly larger than the Mediterranean Sea. A majority of the CAO’s area lies north of the continental shelves that surround the basin.
New Governance for the Central Arctic Ocean
By Captain Lawson Brigham, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)