ENV 714a () / 2024-2025

Ocean Conservation and Sustainability: Policy and Strategies

Credits: 3
Fall 2024: M,W, 9:00-10:20, Kroon G01

The health of the planet is completely linked to the state of the ocean. Functions as important to life as climate regulation, oxygen production, habitat for thousands of species, and the provision of food for billions of people around the world depend on it. However, human action has brought the ocean to a critical state of deterioration, putting ourselves at serious risk. For this reason, ocean protection can be the best ally to help solve the most serious global problems of our time, such as climate change, the accelerated loss of biodiversity, and the lack of food in vulnerable communities. This course is for those who want to learn practical tools to protect the ocean, from conservation to sustainable use. We study the benefits of marine protected areas for biodiversity, the economy, and their role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. We also look at strategies, tactics, and main challenges for their designation and implementation.We also address critical issues in the sustainable use of the sea such as fisheries management; control of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; the use of new surveillance technologies and enforcement strategies; and the protection of endangered species. We review some of the major international agreements that can have a major impact in addressing ocean threats. These include the World Trade Organization agreement on fisheries subsidies, the Marine Biodiversity Agreement for Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, the role of regional fisheries management organizations, CITES, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and the continuing international negotiations on climate change. The blue economy is an important part of this course. In the marine realm we can clearly see that there is no incompatibility between nature conservation and economy. We see some of the real cases in which economic activities have been developed without detriment to the health of the ocean and to the benefit of the livelihoods of communities and countries. By the end of the course, students have navigated a wide range of tools that they can use to help save the ocean, and with it, the planet.