1st Edition

The Unruly Ocean Law and Justice in the World’s Oceans, Seas and Shorelines

By Erika Techera, Joy McCann Copyright 2025
    352 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book introduces non-specialist readers to the history of how human societies have sought to control, use and exploit our oceans, seas and shorelines over time in different geographical and cultural contexts.

    Oceans, Seas and Shorelines in Law examines the development of the modern international legal regime – the law of the sea, maritime law, marine environmental and pollution law, fisheries regulation, and underwater cultural heritage law – and considers how effective these laws have been in addressing the many challenges facing marine and coastal environments ranging from piracy and war to oil spills and the extraction of marine resources. It concludes by discussing the socio-ecological crises facing the world’s oceans, seas and shorelines, and explores current ideas for reimagining a legal regime that restores the health of our oceanic realm and offers a more holistic, transboundary, rights-based approach to ocean governance.

    This book will be of value to law and non-law undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as research scholars and other educated audiences interested in a legal history of the world’s oceans, seas and shorelines.

    Introduction

     

    PART I – THE OCEAN AS TERRITORY

    1.      Undercurrents: Legal approaches and maritime concepts

    2.      Fluid boundaries: Shoreline borders and maritime zones

    3.      Disorder at sea: Piracy, war and illegality

     

    PART II – THE OCEAN AS RESOURCE

    4.      An ‘inexhaustible’ bounty: Fishing and farming of marine life

    5.      Seafaring: Ships and shipping law

    6.      Disrupting the flow: Construction and extraction in the deep ocean  

     

    PART III – THE OCEAN AS ECOSYSTEM

    7.      The fragile ocean: Protecting species and ecosystems

    8.      Ocean space: protecting marine areas and regions

     

    PART IV – THE OCEAN AS REPOSITORY

    9.      Overboard: Discharge, dumping and debris at sea

    10.  Shipwrecks to sea shanties: Safeguarding maritime cultural heritage

    11.  Ways of knowing: Ocean knowledge, research and data

     

    PART V – THE OCEAN AS FUTURE

    12.  Anthropocene ocean: turning the tide of oceans governance

    Biography

    Dr Erika Techera is a Professor of Law at The University of Western Australia. She researches on international and comparative environmental law particularly oceans. She is a co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of International Environmental Law, 2021 and co-author of International Law of Sharks, 2017.

    Dr Joy McCann is an environmental historian affiliated with the University of Tasmania. Her research focuses on oceans, ice, islands and coastlines of the southern hemisphere, and her publications include Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean, 2019.