Climate Change Impacts on Ocean and Coastal Law: U.S. and International Perspectives edited by Randall S. Abate Published by Oxford University Press, 2015, 699 pp., £115.00, hardback.

Published date01 April 2019
Date01 April 2019
AuthorRichard Caddell
PERSPECTIVES edited by Randall S. Abate
Published by Oxford University Press, 2015, 699 pp., £115.00, hardback.
It is beyond sane and rational dispute that climate change will con-
tinue to have significant impacts upon marine ecosystems and aquat-
ic species and, in turn, the human communities that are reliant upon
the global oceans for nutritional and economic sustenance. Such
impacts are myriad but will likely include altered species distributions
and phenological adjustments (and associated losses and windfalls in
particular jurisdictions), greater meteorological unpredictability, sea
level rise, and significant changes to the conservation status of mar-
ine species from habitat degradation and alteration. These current
and future developments create monumental challenges for regula-
tors and legislators at all tiers, from local marine ordinances, to
national and subnational adaptation and mitigation strategies, and
the need to foster globalized solutions to fastchanging climatic and
oceanic conditions. Such challenges also play out against a compli-
cated backdrop of political intransigence, a shifting knowledge base
and limitations upon the accuracy of modelled predictions for future
ecosystems, while the traditionally reactionary nature of environ-
mental law often impedes the elaboration of farsighted and dynamic
legal solutions. It is in this multifaceted context that Climate Change
Impacts on Ocean and Coastal Law seeks to consider prospective
legal responses to these complex problems and collate examples of
emerging best practice.
The book, edited by Randall S. Abate, is thus an ambitious collec-
tion of papers, seeking to provide a panoramic view of legal
responses to the regulatory challenges posed by climate change
upon the oceans, by harnessing an extensive multidisciplinary team
of expert commentators. To this end, the book is predicated on an
observation familiar to those concerned with the potential fragmen-
tation of (international) law, namely that responses to common prob-
lems have been potentially stymied by a lack of joinedup thinking
between legal disciplines in this context climate change regulation
and ocean and coastal laware considered to have largely main-
tained a sense of mutual exclusivity to the detriment of effective
regulatory solutions. The volume therefore represents a welcome
opportunity to unite these perspectives to consider how legal
responses to future climaterelated problems could be further
enhanced through the crosspollination of related legal principles.
The collection opens with a helpful introduction by Abate and Sarah
Ellen Krajci which, in a microcosm of the book itself, provides an
overview of the key legal and scientific difficulties that are posed by
climateattributable oceanic changes, setting the scene for the subse-
quent chapters.
The book comprises a further 28 substantive chapters, demar-
cated into two units, which address oceans and coasts, respectively,
with many of the contributions addressing the labyrinthine dimen-
sions of US state and federal laws and their application to the wider
dimensions of climate change. Consideration of oceanic issues com-
mences with a discussion of legal responses to the underexamined
issue of acidification by Miyoko Sakashita, who observes that like
many jurisdictions, the United States lacks specific legislation on
acidification, yet a broad framework can be teased out from core
legislation. In this respect, Sakashita considers that the Clean Water
Act (CWA), whose broad mandate is readily identifiable from its titu-
lar intent, could be used to develop innovative solutions to mitigate
acidification. In something of a running theme in this volume, how-
ever, such a possibility has been undermined by a lack of political
will at both a federal and state level to utilize the CWA in this man-
ner. This analysis dovetails well with that of Margaret E. Peloso, who
considers the corresponding role of the Clean Air Act (CAA) in
addressing acidification. Peloso, however, is less optimistic about the
role of the CWA in isolation and argues that this issue can only be
effectively addressed in tandem with atmospheric emissions stand-
ards and international cooperation, again raising concerns as to
whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fully
engaged with this problem.
The subsequent chapters move to consider marine capture fish-
eries, which are projected to experience profound changes across
the course of the present century. Following a concise (and to those
uninitiated in the technicalities of US fisheries legislation) helpful pri-
mer on the MagnusonStevens Act, a series of illuminating case
studies are presented on fisheries management within particular
locations. Susan E. Farady examines the nationally significant New
England fisheries, notably those for lobster, squid and cod, which
have each faced substantial challenges in recent years due to the
impacts of climate change. Similarly, Richard J. McLaughlin considers
the fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico, while Janis Searles Jones, Ivy
Fredrickson and Adanah Leibman examine the fisheries of the Pacific
and Arctic. While each of these regions faces its own challenges,
whether political or financial, a common observation is that both
domestic and international fisheries will be increasingly forced to
operate in a climate of acute uncertainty, requiring precautionary
and adaptive management if the pursuit of particular stocks is to
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
DOI: 10.1111/reel.12268
RECIEL. 2019;28:99103.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT