The oceans comprise 75% of the world’s surface. The majority of international commerce and trade is via ocean routes and much of the world’s living and non-living resources come from this environment (fish, oil and gas). And the oceans provide the “engine” for the earth’s climate. This course examines the governance of the world’s oceans. Much of today’s conflicts are ocean related: tensions in the South China Sea, Persian Gulf, sea level rise, ice depletion and increased navigation in the Arctic, threats to the marine environment, pertain in large part to who has control over the earth’s maritime area.
National interests over the control of ocean space differ from country to country, from region to region. In some situations these differences have led to conflict. The course will focus on the importance of this large, yet fragile, environment to human existence and the current state of exploring and exploiting offshore resources in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner. Lectures will focus on means by which both States and the international community (primarily through the United Nations) have claimed sovereignty and jurisdiction over ocean space. Class discussion will occur on the tensions that arise frequently between national and international interests, with a focus on the regions that we will travel this semester. The division of ocean space is analyzed from both a geographical and functional perspective.
Geographically, each major type of maritime zone is discussed: baselines, territorial sea, exclusive economic zones, continental shelf, and high seas. Functionally, primary ocean uses are examined including fisheries, oil and gas development, navigation rights (commercial and military), deep seabed mining. Special ocean-related topics will also be covered such as marine scientific research, Polar regions (Antarctica and Arctic), climate change and sea level rise, and marine pollution.
Students will have “hands on” opportunities to put into action several class topics including baselines and boundaries. Towards the end of the course the class will be divided into teams, given a scenario, and by applying concepts learned in the course, will attempt to negotiate a maritime boundary treaty.
Grades will be based on tests (map quiz, mid-term and final), briefing memoranda (based on readings, lectures, field trip, and boundary negotiations), and class participation.
Field ClassCountry: Ghana
Date: September 27, 2017
On the first day in Tema we will tour two locations in the immediate area pertaining to Ghana’s fishing industry. In the morning the class will tour the artisanal fishing harbor, adjacent to the commercial harbor, to gain an appreciation of this industry to the general Ghana population. Dr. Armah, an expert in marine biology and coastal management, will be our guide for the day. He will give us commentary throughout the day on the current and emerging issues facing the Ghana fishing industry. At some point, perhaps at lunch, he will address the class on this subject. Following lunch the class will head to the Marine Fisheries and Survey Division of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Here we will be guided around to hear of the multiple activities being carried on by this Ghana agency.
1. To gain an appreciation of Ghana’s fishing industry.
2. To learn of the current state of affairs and the challenges of Ghana fishermen (lecture from Dr. Armah).
3. The see the environment, physical and political, in which Ghana fishermen operate.