The Arctic ice pack is dwindling, and this opens the door to new challenges for the countries on the border of the Arctic Sea, as set out here:
In an interview with BBC News, the head of the Canadian Coast Guard, George Da Pont, said: "Our view is that it's our territorial waters and that we govern it accordingly. Obviously the Americans and some European countries have different views.
"I assume at some point in time they'll get settled but we're pretty confident that they're Canadian territorial waters and that we should be regulating and asserting our control over them as we would over any other part of our territorial water.
"It's critical, it's part of our history; like any country it's important to assert your control over your country and your territorial waters."