Adaptation strategies for cruise ship tourism in the Canadian Arctic

Cruise ship tourism in Canada’s Arctic is increasing, with activity more than doubling between 2005 and 2013. Cruise shipping differs from industrial shipping in a number of ways, including deviating from main shipping corridors in pursuit of ice, wildlife and culture. This involves navigating in sometimes challenging, uncharted waters, seeking access to shore locations and interacting with local residents. Researchers, private operators and Canadian Inuit organizations see the need to improve governance of the sector. Limiting the size of cruise ships entering Arctic waterways, banning the use of heavy oil in Arctic waters, establishing site guidelines for highly visited areas, and regulating cruise ship disturbances to wildlife (birds and mammals) and their habitats are examples of potential measures. Successfully managing climate change-related risks is also critical to the sustainable growth and evolution of the Arctic cruise ship industry.

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