The Arctic is a vast area with many future economic possibilities for the oil and gas, shipping and the fishing industries. The climate is harsh, the environment vulnerable, but the potential profits from future expansion in the area are huge. The on-going public debate on the Arctic includes discussions both for and against industrial development in these areas, however the reality is that as resources become scarcer in other parts of the world, Arctic expansion will become inevitable. Therefore adequate preplanning of the activities, understanding of the operational environment and development of barriers against undesired events becomes infinitely more important for sustainable, reliable and safe operation in the future.

The fishing fleet has been operating in the Arctic region for decades and while the safety for the fishers is questionable, it is a matter of resources that drove and will continue to drive this expansion. The IMO’s Polar Code for shipping is now under construction and the fishing fleet will have to comply with this and other regulations for future operations in the Arctic.

This paper focuses on the maintenance and safety management regimes and requirements of the fishing fleet currently operating in the Arctic. With long distances to service and help, and a short operating season, a reliable system is a mandatory requirement for the economic stability of these operations. Mutual benefits may be gained if operational experiences from fishing can be utilized by the oil and gas industry and ship transport when moving their operations into the arctic areas, whereas the fishing fleet can improve their safety performance through closer alignment with those standardized procedures applied in other industries.

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