Protecting Forest and Marine Biodiversity
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Protecting Forest and Marine Biodiversity

The Role of Law

Edited by Ed Couzens, Alexander Paterson, Sophie Riley and Yanti Fristikawati

This timely book contributes to discussions on the best legal practices to use to promote conservation, protection and sustainable use of biological diversity in forest and marine areas. The breadth of issues explored across these two themes is immense, and the book identifies both key differences, and striking commonalities between them.
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Chapter 10: The valuable role that private environmental governance might play in managing global fisheries resources

Anastasia Telesetsky


This chapter explains that international governance of highly migratory fish species, such as sharks, billfish and tuna, has proved largely ineffective – for various reasons. Against the backdrop of such failure, it is argued that a valuable role could be played by private, industry-driven management initiatives. By way of introduction it is explained that private actors have historically played important roles in protecting marine biodiversity, but that existing governance structures for the extraction of global commons marine fisheries resources are currently largely found within the ambit of public authorities. A specific case study is considered: the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), with examples of successes and failures being given. Potential lessons are then drawn as to how such private initiatives might be used to supplement, if not replace, international management regimes. It is argued in conclusion that the interaction between public and private governance efforts may in the years to come require a more active response from public actors; and that perhaps, in spite of the legitimacy associated with public governance, which is less apparent in private governance initiatives, states should be following the lead of the ISSF to articulate mandatory policies that support all industry conservation efforts that are as protective or more protective of marine resources than existing public governance efforts.

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