Comparative Ocean Governance

Comparative Ocean Governance

Place-Based Protections in an Era of Climate Change

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Robin Kundis Craig

Comparative Ocean Governance examines the world’s attempts to improve ocean governance through place-based management – marine protected areas, ocean zoning, marine spatial planning – and evaluates this growing trend in light of the advent of climate change and its impacts on the seas.

Chapter 5: Place-based Marine Governance: An Overview

Robin Kundis Craig

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental economics, environmental governance and regulation, environmental law, environmental management, law - academic, comparative law, environmental law


As previous chapters have hinted, until recently ocean governance regimes have not, as a general matter, managed the world’s seas by focusing on ecologically important places or ecosystems. Instead, the oceans have been viewed as sources of particular resources—fish and seafood, seaweed, oil and gas, minerals, and most recently, genetic material—and as highways of regional and global commerce. Governance regimes, both internationally and domestically, have tended to reflect this fragmented assessment of the seas’ value, addressing fisheries management and species conservation on a species-by-species basis, marine pollution on a sourceby-source basis, and other issues, such as navigation rights and piracy, piecemeal. In this respect, the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) improves ocean governance at the international level, because it addresses most aspects of ocean use in one treaty. Nevertheless, UNCLOS III leaves many of the details of marine resource management to further treaties and to domestic law, and these subordinate regimes perpetuate the fragmentation of ocean governance. One example of this fragmentation is the number and specificity of treaties currently in force that address different living marine resources, including: ● ● ● ● ● North Pacific Fur Seal Treaty (Washington, D.C., 1911): In force as of 1911 among Great Britain (for Canada), Japan, Russia, and the United States. International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (Washington, 1946): In force as of 1948; as of the beginning of 2012 there are 89 party nations. Agreement Concerning Cooperation in Marine Fishing (Warsaw, 1962): In force as of 1963...

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