Environmental Governance of the Great Seas

Environmental Governance of the Great Seas

Law and Effect

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Joseph F.C. DiMento and Alexis Jaclyn Hickman

The great seas contain immense resources and provide invaluable services to humankind, yet their environmental conditions are threatened worldwide. The authors of this comprehensive study provide a rich assessment of the seas and the efficacy of the initiatives governing them, as well as suggestions for improving governance and protection. Case studies of the Baltic, Mediterranean, Black, Caribbean and East Asian seas illustrate the varying degrees of policy success, failure and promise.

Chapter 8: An Accounting

Joseph F.C. DiMento and Alexis Jaclyn Hickman

Subjects: environment, energy policy and regulation, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, maritime law


In this book we have examined the pursuit of means to govern the quality of the environments of the seas. The core of this work was an analysis of programs specifically created to manage and protect the regional seas. Its penumbra was the inventory of legal, regulatory and policy activity which addresses the seas and may also have other focuses. We noted at the start that concerns about marine environmental conditions were broad: coastal pollution, including from mammoth amounts of untreated sewage; heavy metal and radioactivity pollution; degraded wetlands; coastal and marine nutrient over-enrichment; eutrophication; acidification; decline and decimation of fisheries; increasing vulnerability of marine biodiversity; invasive alien species; destroyed coral reefs; degraded salt marshes and mangroves; increasing scarcity of freshwater; marine litter; sedimentation; beach erosion; loss of great marine mammal populations; red tides; and industrial and shipping pollution. We also noted that contributions offered for ocean environmental governance are myriad. We have employed “Cluster” as the descriptor of the aggregation of attempts to improve the regional seas. In each chapter we have described constituents of the cluster and their status and reported, where available, the conditions of the sea which to some extent are linked to the cluster (not always in a manner we can characterize as a linear or directly causal way). Among the Cluster components we have included international law efforts that also address waters beyond (some understandings) of regional seas, i.e., the high seas and areas beyond national jurisdiction.1 In many areas and for many concerns...

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