An agreement on a decades-old maritime boundary dispute with Denmark could be a sign that Canada is serious about its plan to resolve competing claims in the north, researchers suggest.
Negotiators have a tentative plan to address ownership of two small patches of water totalling less than 225 square kilometres in the Lincoln Sea, an area of the Arctic Ocean north of Ellesmere Island and Greenland. There is still, however, no resolution over Hans Island, as well as several boundary disputes with the United States in the Arctic and further south.
“What we’re seeing here is the Harper government signalling a willingness to resolve disputes with other Arctic countries, and that is very significant,” said Michael Byers, a professor at the University of British Columbia who holds a Canada Research Chair in global politics and international law.
But the ownership of tiny Hans Island is still "the subject of continuing discussion"
Nunatsiaq News, 29 November 2012
The ownership of Hans Island, a disputed 1.3 square-kilometre rock between Ellesmere Island and Greenland, remains unsettled, even after Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, who is also minister of the Arctic Council for Canada, and Villy Søvndal, the Danish minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark, met Nov. 28 in Ottawa.
But the ministers did come out of their talks to announce they had reached an agreement on where to establish the maritime boundary in the Lincoln Sea, the body of water north of Ellesmere Island and Greenland, they said.
Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent (top) and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy working side-by-side in the summer of 2009 during a seabed survey in the Beaufort Sea.
Photograph by: U.S. Geological Survey, Photo Handout
Canadian and U.S. government experts met quietly in Ottawa last week to begin trying to resolve a long-standing boundary dispute in the Beaufort Sea, a Canadian diplomat revealed Monday.
News of the surprise talks was disclosed during a briefing by Canadian and U.S. officials on a bi-national seabed mapping mission to be conducted next month in the Beaufort region.
This summer's joint Canada-U.S. survey, the third consecutive year in which researchers from the two countries have agreed to collaborate on mapping the Beaufort sea floor, will also include a sonar probe of the contested area itself for the first time.
The Ottawa talks on the Beaufort controversy, held July 22, followed a pledge earlier this year by Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon that Canada intends to actively pursue an agreement with the U.S. over where the maritime boundary should be drawn in an unresolved, Lake Ontario-sized section of the Arctic Ocean north of the Yukon-Alaska border.
Federal scientists will soon take on their most ambitious effort yet to
map the Arctic Ocean seabed, four years before Canada's deadline to try
to extend its Arctic sovereignty as part of an international treaty. ...
Dispute over Hans Island shows Denmark is a polar rival, experts says
Randy Boswell, Ottawa Citizen, May 27, 2008, A5
KANGERLUSSAQ, Greenland - It's Canada's
forgotten neighbour, better known as the source of Havarti cheese and
puff pastries than as a nation sharing 2,000 kilometres of our coastal
waters -- or as a serious rival in the intensifying international
competition for Arctic power and wealth.
Scientists are using dynamite to map the Arctic seabed in a push to claim valuable new territory for Canada Katherine Harding, Globe and Mail, May 13, 2006
CFS ALERT, NUNAVUT - It's a frustratingly quiet day for the Bombing Lady.
"Too much snow - we aren't going anywhere today. You can't even see the
horizon," Canadian marine geologist Ruth Jackson sighs as a spring
blizzard blankets the world's most northerly permanent settlement.
Normally, Dr. Jackson, who received her nickname from people at
Canadian Forces Station Alert, would be bundled up in a parka and
mukluks as she directs dynamite explosions a few hundred kilometres
south of the North Pole. She is leading a one-time push to add valuable
maritime territory to Canada's stock of real estate.