People in coastal regions will experience great changes as water temperature will increase followed by introduction to new (for the area) species and loss in the traditional ones. This scenario is not only a threat but could with right preparation give the arctic region new opportunities. Harvesting and processing of new commercial marine species could be possible and aquaculture would become more feasible in the warmer water. To meet these future challenges, the societies in the high Arctic must have access to the best available knowledge, knowhow and skills in order to not only survive but also to benefit from these changes.
Considerable knowledge is available in the Subarctic on the Arctic ecosystem, and on how to best manage the resources in an ecologically and economically sustainable way. In fact the only two universities in the world that put emphasize on fisheries science (that is running businesses in the fisheries sector) are located in the Subarctic. These are the University of Tromsø in Norway and the University of Akureyri in Iceland. Many other northern universities have emphasis on fisheries or the marine environment on their curriculum. University of the Faroe Islands, Turku University of Applied Sciences in Finland and University of Nordland, Bodø, Norway are involved with aquatic related issues from various other perspectives and together these universities provide a wide spectrum of education and knowhow in oceanography, marine ecology, marine biotechnology, energy utilization, and aquaculture. The universities not only offer B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees but have an experience of offering longer and shorter programmes for different groups e.g. as part of vocational training, short courses for and in developing countries and are even involved in education in primary and secondary schools. Across the Atlantic, Memorial University of Newfoundland and University of Alaska also have a strong focus on the marine environment.
It is only natural that these northernmost maritime universities link up to form a network to ease and increase the flow of information and people among themselves and to the people in the arctic region. It is important that these institutions of higher education team up to aid the more northern neighbours in managing and harvesting currently available and future resources in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.