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Nikolas Sellheim

Nikolas Sellheim

Editor, Polar Record

Nikolas Sellheim is a socio-legal scholar with a focus on international conservation law as well as laws and cultures related to marine mammals.


Prior to his role as Editor of Polar Record, Nikolas Sellheim worked for the CAFF Working Group of the Arctic Council in Akureyri, Iceland, and for the international secretariat of the University of the Arctic (UArctic) in Rovaniemi, Finland. He conducted his first post-doc at the Polar Cooperation Research Centre at Kobe University, Japan. Before becoming an legal scholar, Sellheim worked as a veterinary assistant in a veterinary practice in Berlin, Germany.


  • Doctor of Laws (2016)
  • MA Polar Law (2011)
  • BA Scandinavian Studies (2009)
  • BA Circumpolar Studies (2009)
  • Diploma Arctic Studies (2008)


My research interests are:

  • Local communities in conservation law
  • Marine mammal hunting and coastal cultures
  • Legal anthropology
  • The expressive character of law


Peer-reviewed publications

  • Sellheim, N. & O. Ojanperä. (2021). Indigenous youth and international conservation law: Five case studies. Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law.
  • Sellheim, N. (2020). Der Austritt Japans aus der Internationalen Walfangkommission – Hintergründe und Konsequenzen. Natur & Recht 42
  • Sellheim, N. (2020) The CITES appendix II-Listing of mako sharks — Revisiting counter arguments. Marine Policy 115.
  • Sellheim, N. (2020) The Evolution of Local Involvement in International Conservation Law. Yearbook of International Environmental Law 28.
  • Sellheim, N. (2019). The Growth of Local Recognition in Biodiversity Protection through Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures. A Special Emphasis on the Arctic. Revista Tribuna Internacional 8(15). doi: 10.5354/0719-482X.2019.52376
  • Sellheim, N. (2019). 'The rage of the northmen': extreme metal and north-motivated violence. Polar Record 54 (5-6), 339-348.
  • Shibata, A., L. Zou, N. Sellheim & M. Scopelliti. (2019). An ocean in the making: non-Arctic actors and emerging Arctic legal orders. In: A. Shibata, L. Zou, N. Sellheim & M. Scopelliti (Eds.). Emerging Legal Orders in the Arctic. The Role of Non-Arctic Actors (pp. 1–8). Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Scopelliti, M. & N. Sellheim. (2019). Sustaining a conservationist agenda? NGO-influence on Arctic sealing, whaling and hydrocarbon regimes. In: A. Shibata, L. Zou, N. Sellheim & M. Scopelliti (Eds.). Emerging Legal Orders in the Arctic. The Role of Non-Arctic Actors (pp. 91–106). Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Sellheim, N., Y. Zaika & I. Kelman. (2019). A Light at the End of the Arctic Tunnel? Introducing a Triumphant Discourse on Arctic Scholarship. In: N. Sellheim, Y. Zaika & I. Kelman (Eds.). Arctic Triumph: Northern Innovation and Persistence. Berlin: Springer.
  • Sellheim, N. (2019). The Arctic Council and the Advancement of Indigenous Rights. In: N. Sellheim, Y. Zaika & I. Kelman (Eds.). Arctic Triumph: Northern Innovation and Persistence. Berlin: Springer.
  • Sellheim, N. (2018). Perceiving dignity, needs and rights: seal hunting communities and international human rights standards. In: L. Heininen & M. Finger (Eds.). Global Arctic Handbook (pp. 9–26). Berlin: Springer
  • Sellheim, N., L.Zou & O. Inagaki. (2017). Legal 'Arctopia'? How Arctic governance expresses a better world. In: L. Heininen, H. Exner-Pirot & J. Plouffe (Eds.). Arctic Yearbook 2017 (pp. 415—427). Akureyri: Northern Research Forum.
  • Sellheim, N. (2017). Scopes and Limits of 'Arcticness' – Arctic Livelihoods, Marine Mammals, and the Law. In: I. Kelman (Ed.). Arcticness: Power and voice from the north (pp. 102–112) . London: UCL Press.
  • Sellheim, N. (2016) The voice of disapproval: the expressive function and paradox of the EU seal regime. The Polar Journal, 6(2): 224–242.
  • Sellheim, N. Legislating the blind spot. The EU seal regime and the Newfoundland seal hunt. Doctoral dissertation. Rovaniemi: Lapland University Press (2016).
  • Sellheim, N. Narrating the 'other' - Challenging Inuit sustainability through the European sealing debate. Hossain, K. and A. Petrétei (eds.). Understanding the Many Faces of Security: Perspectives of Northern Indigenous Peoples. Leiden: Brill (2016): 56-73.
  • Sellheim, N. Black and Viking metal: how two extreme music genres depict, construct and transfigure the (sub-)Arctic. Polar Record (2016). doi:10.1017/S0032247416000280
  • Sellheim, N. The legal question of morality: Seal hunting and the European moral standard. Social & Legal Studies (Online first) (2016): doi:10.1177/0964663915624343.
  • Sellheim, N. Seal hunting in the Arctic States. An analysis of legislative frameworks, incentives and histories. The Yearbook of Polar Law VII (2015), 188-224.
  • Sellheim, N. Morality, practice and economy in a commercial sealing community, Arctic Anthropology 52 (1) (2015): 71-90.
  • Sellheim, N. A legal framework for sealing in the Arctic. Loukacheva, N. (ed.). Polar Law and Resources. Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers (2015), 109-118.
  • Sellheim, N. Early sealing regimes: The Bering Sea fur seal regime vis-à-vis Finnish-Soviet fishing and sealing agreements, Polar Record (FirstView) (2015): doi:10.1017/S0032247415000236.
  • Sellheim, N. 'Direct and individual concern' for Newfoundland's sealing industry? - When a legal concept and empirical data collide. The Yearbook of Polar Law VI (2015), 466-496.
  • Sellheim, N. Policies and influence - Tracing and locating the EU seal products trade regulation. International Community Law Review 17 (1) (2015), 3-36.
  • Sellheim, N. The right not to be indigenous - Seal utilization in Newfoundland. In: Heininen, L., H. Exner-Pirot and J. Plouffe (eds.). Arctic Yearbook 2014. Akureyri: Northern Research Forum (2014), 546-552.
  • Sellheim, N. The goals of the EU seal products trade regulation: from effectiveness to consequence. Polar Record 51 (258) (2015), 274-289.
  • Sellheim, N. The neglected tradition? - The genesis of the EU seal products trade ban and commercial sealing. The Yearbook of Polar Law V (2013), 417-450.
  • Sellheim, N. The reflection of multilateral agreements (MEAs) in the Barents environmental cooperation. Arctic Review on Law and Politics 3 (2012). 218-243.
  • Sellheim, N. Problem-solving capabilities, goal-attainment and effectiveness of the Barents environmental cooperation. The Yearbook of Polar Law IV (2012), 519-539.
  • Koivurova, T., K. Kokko, S. Duyck, N. Sellheim and A. Stepien. The present and future competences of the European Union in the Arctic. Polar Record 48 (4) (2012), 361-371.
  • Sellheim, N. The Establishment of a Permanent Arctic Council Secretariat: Challenges and Opportunities. In: Axworthy, T. S., T. Koivurova and W. Hasanat (eds.). The Arctic Council: Its Place in the Future of Arctic Governance. Toronto: Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program (2012), 60-82.
  • Koivurova, T., K. Kokko, S. Duyck, N. Sellheim and A. Stepien EU competencies affecting the Arctic. Brussels: European Parliament (2011).
  • Cavalieri, S., E. McGlynn, S. Stoessel, F. Stuke, M. Bruckner, C. Polzin, T. Koivurova, N. Sellheim, A. Stepien, K. Hossain, S. Duyck and A. E. Nilsson. EU Arctic footprint and policy assessment. Berlin: Ecologic Institute (2010).
  • Sellheim, N. The tradition and the state. Sámi reindeer husbandry and the forestry challenge in northern Finland. Lögfræđingur 4 (1) (2010), 75-87.


  • Sellheim, N. & D. Menezes (Eds.). (forthcoming). Non-state actors in the Arctic region. Berlin: Springer.
  • Sellheim, N. (2020) International Marine Mammal Law. Berlin: Springer.
  • Sellheim, N., I. Kelman & Y. Zaika (Eds.). (2019). Arctic Triumph. Northern innovation and persistence. Berlin: Springer.
  • Shibata, A., L. Zou, N. Sellheim & M. Scopelliti (Eds.). (2019). Emerging Legal Orders in the Arctic. The Role of Non-Arctic Actors. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Sellheim, N. (2018). The seal hunt. Cultures, economies and legal regimes. Leiden: Brill Publishers.
  • Sellheim, N. (2017). A pocket guide to academic publishing. Rovaniemi: University of the Arctic. URL: