Marine Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Governance of the Oceans

Diversity 2012, 4, 224-238

15 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2012 Last revised: 3 Feb 2013

Date Written: May 19, 2012


Governance of marine biodiversity has long suffered from lack of adequate information about the ocean’s many species and ecosystems. Nevertheless, even as we are learning much more about the ocean’s biodiversity and the impacts to it from stressors such as overfishing, habitat destruction, and marine pollution, climate change is imposing new threats and exacerbating existing threats to marine species and ecosystems. Coastal nations could vastly improve their fragmented approaches to ocean governance in order to increase the protections for marine biodiversity in the climate change era. Specifically, three key governance improvements would include: (1) incorporation of marine spatial planning as a key organizing principle of marine governance; (2) working to increase the resilience of marine ecosystems be reducing or eliminating existing stressors on those ecosystems; and (3) anticipation of climate change’s future impacts on marine biodiversity through the use of anticipatory zoning and more precautionary regulation.

Keywords: ocean governance, biodiversity, marine spatial planning, MSP, climate change, adaptation

Suggested Citation

Craig, Robin Kundis, Marine Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Governance of the Oceans (May 19, 2012). Diversity 2012, 4, 224-238, Available at SSRN:

Robin Kundis Craig (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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