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.


Robin Kundis Craig

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


One of the fundamental challenges that climate change poses for all natural resource governance, including ocean governance, is how to ensure a steady supply of natural resources and ecosystem services— resilient natural capital, if you will—in the face of fundamental alterations to ecological, biological, chemical, and physical conditions. For oceans specifically, how do managers now employ (or adopt for the first time) a precautionary approach to marine management when the management baselines—water temperature, current patterns, ocean chemistry, species composition, species behavior, species range—are changing right before their eyes? Perversely, climate change makes a precautionary approach to natural resource management more critical than it has ever been while simultaneously making that approach more difficult to implement. Short of telling all humans to stop using the oceans—which is not going to happen—we need to start thinking about how to incorporate precautionary change, as opposed to just reactive change, into ocean governance. I hope that this book has taken a first step in that direction by encouraging some creative experimentation among marine managers and their governance institutions. To emphasize again, as nearly all of its proponents acknowledge, placebased marine management is not a panacea—a one-stop tool for addressing all of the ills that afflict the world’s oceans. This recognition is particularly true in the case of climate change: place-based marine management does not address most sources of greenhouse gas emissions and hence cannot directly mitigate the causes of climate change or, in the case of carbon dioxide...

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