Course Description

420.605 - Maritime Law and the Environment

The course is designed to introduce students to the process by which environmental policy can be implemented as law in the international sphere. “Law of the Sea” formed the foundation of modern public international law. It also represents the world’s first efforts to define and regulate a “global commons” and to grapple with the management of resources as the “common heritage of mankind”. Topics explored include freedom of navigation on the high seas, the limits on port-state jurisdiction over foreign vessels, and the scope of coastal nations’ power to regulate activities in their respective territorial waters, “contiguous zones”, and “exclusive economic zones”. The course also examines how the UNCLOS regime functions in tandem with other treaties, customary international law, the role of voluntary standards (such as American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International and International Organization for Standardization (ISO)) and domestic law in addressing specific current issues - including management of living and nonliving resources on the Continental Shelf, deep seabed mining, reduction of pollution, protection of highly migratory fish stocks, aquaculture, “marine dead zones”, and the future of ocean policy.