About This Class
Long neglected by lawmakers despite its essential ecological functions, the marine environment has increasingly been the focal point of conservation and natural resource management efforts. As a foundation for studying the laws that govern the marine environment, the course considers the natural components of estuarine, coastal, and marine ecosystems and the current conservation issues confronting them. We will review domestic and international laws and treaties relating to coastal management, pollution, protected areas, endangered species, fisheries, marine mammals, wetlands, marine spatial planning, and offshore energy resources, and examine alternative approaches to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. The course considers the effectiveness of these legal regimes in providing rational and comprehensive management and protection of marine resources in the face of emerging threats from climate change, crashing fish stocks, and energy shortages, focusing on current events such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the International Whaling Commission debate over commercial whaling, and climate change threats to the Arctic.