New Article: ‘Shipping Corridors Through the Inuit Homeland’ (Aporta, Kane and Chircop)

We are delighted to hear that a new article, ‘Shipping Corridors Through the Inuit Homeland’, has been published by ICE LAW members Claudio Aporta, Stephanie Kane and Aldo Chircop. Featured in a special issue of Limn on ‘chokepoints’, this paper focuses on the arctic chokepoints emerging in Canada’s Arctic archipelago due to sea-ice melt, and explores how shipping industry and Inuit conceptions of sea ice relate and what their convergence might mean for governance. This collaborative research builds on discussions conducted at last year’s seminar, ‘Rethinking Perspectives on Arctic Issues in 2017’, convened jointly by ICE LAW’s Migrations and Mobilities Subproject and the Master Mariners of Canada at Dalhousie University in April 2017. Please see below for a preview of the article and a link to the full text.

Regulators, mariners and Inuit leaders at ‘Rethinking Perspectives on Arctic Issues in 2017’ at Dalhousie University.

Aporta, C., Kane, S.C. & Chircop, A. Shipping Corridors Through the Inuit Homeland. Limn 10: Chokepoints. 2018.

Long before the waters and shores of what is known today as Canada’s Arctic archipelago were explored and surveyed, Europeans imagined a waterway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through or near the North Pole. But the archipelago shuttered hopes of easy passage. Its islands created conditions for longer sea-ice seasons and, together with continental shorelines, led to ice-clogged straits well into summer. Although the early European imagination lost out to geophysical reality, sea-ice melt accompanying 21st-century climate change has rekindled the prospect of navigation through the Northwest Passage. Projections indicate thinning ice in summer, sparking hopes for shorter inter-oceanic routes for cargo and new resource frontiers for mining, fishing, and the cruise-ship industry. Maritime administrators in the Canadian government have begun identifying corridors where shipping traffic may be directed, as well as areas and times where icebreaking would be necessary. However, this often has occurred without taking sufficient account of Inuit uses and understanding of these marine spaces. To embrace these worldviews is to fundamentally rethink the “frozen” nature of the Arctic archipelago and its many chokepoints. Continue reading…