Common Currents

Examining How We Manage the Ocean Commons

The world’s oceans play a vital role in everyday life, from climate regulation to food provision, and are widely recognized as a global commons. But they also face daunting challenges in the form of climate change, population growth, escalating pollution, and rapidly evolving technologies that speed the reach and pace of resource extractions. Common Currents: Examining How We Manage the Ocean Commons calls upon experts in international ocean law, policy, and science to explore the question to what extent—and to what effect—we currently manage the oceans as a global commons. This volume captures some key issues, questions, and lessons, to help enhance understanding of current practices and opportunities to grow collaborative management efforts.

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H. Jordan Diamond, J.D. (2008), UC Berkeley School of Law, is the Co-Director of the Law of the Sea Institute and Executive Director of the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at UC Berkeley.

Holly Doremus, J.D. (1991), UC Berkeley, Ph.D. (1986), Cornell University, is the James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor of Environmental Regulation, Co-Director of the Law of the Sea Institute, and Co-Faculty Director of the Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity at UC Berkeley.

Hee Cheol Yang, Ph.D. (2006), National Taiwan University, is a Principal Research Scientist and Director General for the Ocean Law and Policy Institute, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology.

List of Figures

Notes on Contributors

  Jordan Diamond and Holly Doremus

part 1
The Area
1 The Uncertain Limits of the Commons
  Clive Schofield and Leonardo Bernard

2 Korea’s Deep Seabed Activities and Domestic Legislation on the Exploration for and Exploitation of Resources in the Deep Seabed Area An Abortive Attempt and Moving Forward
  Seokwoo Lee

part 2
The Polar Regions
3 Governing the Ocean Commons Lessons from the Antarctic
  Karen N. Scott

4 Rethinking Governance for the Changing Arctic A Perspective from China and South Korea
  Young Kil Park

part 3
Managing Fish as a Common Resource
5 The “Commons” Discourse on Marine Fisheries Resources, and the Problematic of Hardin’s “Tragedy” Concept
  Harry N. Scheiber

6 Sustaining Wild Salmon in the North Atlantic Progressions and Tribulations
  David L. VanderZwaag

part 4
Managing Biodiversity as a Common Resource
7 The Evolution of the Sargasso Sea Regime in International Law
  David Balton and David Freestone

8 Equity Must Anchor the bbnj Treaty
  Autumn Bordner


This book is targeted at scholars, practitioners, and students concerned with ocean governance, ocean stewardship, and sustainable management of commons resources, as well as the law of the sea and public international law more generally. Select chapters of the book will be of particular interest for researchers and policymakers focused on (1) fisheries management; (2) exploration and exploitation of the deep seabed; (3) governance of polar regions; and (4) development of offshore energy resources.
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