Image: Ocean Studies Predict Massive Extinctions From Climate Change, Over-Exploitation, Pollution, And Habitat Loss.
The challenge of governance affects the ocean with all the complexity and contradiction faced on land. The community of nations has evolved a Law of the Sea, a treaty and legal work-in-progress that begins to address the conflict of proprietary interests in the ocean, the sustainability of valuable food supply and mineral wealth, and the future exploitation of an environment about which we know very little. Various agreements and admistrative tools have evolved to mitigate conflict, protect national interests, and maintain the natural and cultural values inherent in the global ocean.
This site contains links to the full text of the United Nations Covention on the Law of the Sea in 6 languages. A vast array of information is available pertaining to organizations and documents related to ocean governance.
The Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands was created at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2002, to advance the interests of oceans--incorporating 72% of the Earth; coasts--the home of 50% of the world's population; and islands--43 of the world's nations are small island developing States (SIDS), which are especially dependent on the oceans. The Global Forum brings together ocean leaders from governments, intergovernmental and international organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, ocean donors, and scientific institutions, to achieve the sustainable development of oceans, coasts, and islands.
There is a strong economic incentive to IUU: many species of over-exploited fish are short in supply and high in value. Most unregulated fishing happens within jurisdictions whose governments do not enforce (inter)national laws, suffer from poor governance, or those countries that lack effective regulation over ships on their registers. We also encourage you to visit the website for the Environmental Justice Foundation, who work to provide film and advocacy training to individuals and grassroots organizations in the global south, enabling them to document, expose and create long term solutions to environmental abuses.
The UNESCO Oceanographic Commission Advisory Body of Experts on the Law of the Sea has compiled the Ocean Policies of many nations including Australia, Columbia, Japan, Norway and more.
A growing number of regional collaborations are forming among federal, state, and local agencies across the country to address management issues that cut across existing political and jurisdictional boundaries. The Legislative Atlas supports regional ocean and coastal management efforts by mapping key state and federal laws and jurisdictions.