Pen Hadow

Pen Hadow
  • Explorer and Conservationist
  • Company: 90 North Foundation

Pen Hadow is a leading explorer of the Arctic Ocean, now dedicated to advancing protection for the wildlife and ecosystem services in the Central Arctic Ocean’s international waters surrounding the North Pole.

Hadow is Executive Director of the 90 North Foundation ( which is advocating:

  • A ‘Routeing Measure’ be adopted in the next revision of the UN IMO Polar Code to ensure international shipping remains outside of the Central Arctic Ocean’s international waters as the sea ice recedes (the shipping lanes to be a more northerly version of the existing Northern Sea Route)
  • Designation by the UN IMO that these waters are a ‘Particularly Sensitive Sea Area’ and ‘An Area To Be Avoided’.
  • A Marine Protected Area be established for these waters through the UN High Seas Treaty (aka UN Convention on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction) once the treaty is ratified by Sept 2028.

The 90 North Foundation is introducing a significant new perspective on the Arctic’s diminishing sea ice, revealing the potentially catastrophic threats to the unique “floating ice-reef ecosystem” from surface vessel activity. The ecosystem supports some of the world’s most iconic species – polar bear, walrus, bowhead whale, orca, narwhal, beluga, three species of seal – and significant fish stocks in the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans; and through its biodiversity, it also provides a range of ecosystem services critical to life on Earth.

In 2017 Arctic Mission sailed two 50’ vessels 300 miles into the Central Arctic Ocean’s international waters, the first vessels in history to do so without icebreakers. The objective was to warn of the increasing accessibility of these waters to commercial shipping, fishing, tourism and mining, and the direct stressors these activities introduce to the wildlife already-stressed by the reduced sea-ice cover habitat.

Previously, Hadow led the multi-award-winning £7.5m international scientific research programme, Catlin Arctic Survey (2007-2012) investigating the rates, causes and impacts of the Arctic’s rapidly melting sea ice.

In 2003 Hadow became the first person to trek solo, and without resupply, across the Arctic’s sea ice from Canada to the North Geographic Pole – a feat that took three attempts over 15 years … and will likely never be repeated due to climate change as fixed-wing aircraft can no longer land in this region.

Hadow is an Honorary Patron of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, the British Exploring Society, the Scientific Exploration Society, and The Explorers Club (UK Chapter).

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