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The Environmental Rule of Law for Oceans

January 22, 2024


Froukje Maria Platjouw and Alla Pozdnakova (eds.)

Publication Year
September 2023


Cambridge University Press




This book explores the environmental rule of law for oceans from a range of different perspectives. As an overarching question we ask whether existing legal frameworks are sufficiently effective, dynamic and robust enough to address new challenges and pressures in light of advanced scientific knowledge and understanding of oceans. Do we have adequate governance and compliance mechanisms and solutions in place to ensure satisfactory implementation of the law in its existing and evolving dimensions? And how can we further strengthen the rule of law for better protection of our oceans.

The authors shed light on whether we have adequate governance and compliance mechanisms and solutions in place to ensure the effectiveness of the law in its existing and evolving dimensions. They address different rule of law norms, such as legitimacy, coherence, clarity and legal certainty and accountability. In addition, they propose solutions to identified regulatory weaknesses, gaps or other barriers that adversely affect protection of the oceans. The book provides future-oriented perspectives on how law should evolve to better preserve the oceans. All twenty-five chapters incorporate novel insights and ideas for legal solutions that are needed to strengthen the environmental rule of law for oceans and that might inspire scholars, actors, authorities, citizens and communities around the globe.



List of Contributors

Foreword by Ronán Long


Table of International Instruments

Table of Cases

List of Abbreviations


Part I Introduction

1 The Environmental Rule of Law for Oceans

Froukje Maria Platjouw and Alla Pozdnakova


Part II Tackling Multiple Pressures on the Oceans

2 Oceans and Climate Change: Implications for UNCLOS and the UN Climate Regime

Christina Voigt

3 Controlling GHG Emissions from Shipping: The Role, Relevance and Fitness for Purpose of UNCLOS

David Testa

4 An International Legal Framework for Marine Plastics Pollution: Time for a Change to Regulate the Lifecycle of Plastics

Dawoon Jung

5 The ‘Thin Law’ of Plastic Regulation and a Proposal for a Regional or Global Waste Tariff

Anastasia Telesetsky

6 Pollution of the Marine Environment by Spaceflights

Alla Pozdnakova


Part III Balancing the Exploitation and Preservation of Ocean Resources

7 Restoration Activities in the Marine Environment: Balancing Diverging Perceptions of ‘Risk’

Rozemarijn J. Roland Holst

8 Marine Geoengineering to Abate Eutrophication in the Baltic Sea: How to Address Regulatory Voids and Uncertainty

Brita Bohman and Henrik Ringbom

9 Filling an Iceberg-Sized Gap in the Law of the Sea: Addressing an Emerging Demand on Oceans

Aref Shams

10 The Precautionary Principle/Approach and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: Management of Living Resources

Maurus Wollensak

11 A Regime Lost at Sea: Critical Reflections on the UNCLOS Conservation Regime and the Future of Marine Biodiversity Protection

Pierre Cloutier de Repentigny

12 Fisheries Redistribution under Climate Change: Rethinking the Law to Address the ‘Governance Gap’?

Mitchell Lennan

13 Defining Marine Genetic Resources: Navigating through the Sea of Uncertainties

Jakub Ciesielczuk


Part IV Paths towards Effective Ocean Governance, Implementation and Compliance

14 Legitimacy and EU Marine Governance

David Langlet

15 Recognition of Maritime Environmental Crimes within International Law: A New Global Paradigm for the Protection and Preservation of the Marine Environment

Vasco Becker-Weinberg

16 Mending the Net: State Responsibility for Nationals Engaged in IUU Fishing?

Pieter van Welzen

17 The Advisory Jurisdiction of the ITLOS: From Uncertainties to Opportunities for Ocean Governance

Carlos A. Cruz Carrillo

18 Could the WTO Save the Oceans? An Inquiry into the Role of the WTO in the Future of Fisheries Policies

Leonila Guglya

19 Improving Compliance with International Fisheries Law through Litigation

Solène Guggisberg


Part V Strengthening the Rule of Law in Regional Seas and Oceans

20 Regional Cooperation for the Conservation of Marine Biodiversity in the Eastern Tropical Pacific: A Rule of Law Perspective

Sarah Ryan Enright

21 Oil Pollution Control Regulations in the Baltic Sea: The Effect of Institutional Interplay on Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach

Kirsi White

22 The International Law of the Sea and Arctic Governance: Paving the Way to Integrated Ecosystem-Based Marine Management

Andrey Todorov

23 Understanding Japan’s Resumption of Commercial Whaling under International Law

Constantinos Yiallourides

24 Failing Rule of Law: The Case of the South China Sea

Agnes Chong


Part VI Concluding Remarks

25 Legal Solutions for Oceans in Change: Mapping Out the Way Forward

Froukje Maria Platjouw and Alla Pozdnakova




About the author

Froukje Maria Platjouw

is a Senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Water Researcher, specialized in environmental and marine law and governance. She obtained her PhD at the University of Oslo, Faculty of Law. She coordinates the Horizon Europe funded research and innovation project ‘CrossGov’.

Alla Pozdnakova

has researched and published broadly on law of the sea and maritime safety, environmental law, outer space law, Arctic, and European law. She is a board member of the International Law Association (Norway), and member of the International Institute for Space Law and of the expert committee for Norwegian space law.

Related artifacts

Rule of Law for Nature – New Dimensions and Ideas in Environmental Law

Rule of Law for Nature – New Dimensions and Ideas in Environmental Law

'Human laws must be reformulated to keep human activities in harmony with the unchanging and universal laws of nature.' This 1987 statement by the World Commission on Environment and Development has never been more relevant and urgent than it is today. Despite the many legal responses to various environmental problems, more greenhouse gases than ever before are being released into the atmosphere, biological diversity is rapidly declining and fish stocks in the oceans are dwindling. This book challenges the doctrinal construction of environmental law and presents an innovative legal approach to ecological sustainability: a rule of law for nature which guides and transcends ordinary written laws and extends fundamental principles of respect, integrity and legal security to the non-human world.

Read the full text

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