Fisheries Redistribution under Climate Change: Rethinking the Law to Address the ‘Governance Gap’?

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The impact of climate change on the distribution of fish stocks and other marine species is a pervasive problem that causes governance issues and threatens the rule of law for the oceans. Fish moving across static jurisdictional and management boundaries may become unregulated and risk being overexploited. Shifting fish stocks threaten the certainty, predictability and stability of the international fisheries legal framework, and undermine conservation and management measures by coastal States and regional fisheries organisations, impeding sustainable exploitation and conservation of global fish stocks. This chapter assesses whether and to what extent the international legal framework adequately places an obligation upon States to adapt to the complexities caused by MLRs shifting their location, to maintain the rule of law. It assesses whether the key principles and obligations under the international framework are fit for purpose to address these issues. It indicates there is a general obligation on States, either individually or collectively, to adapt the management of marine living resources to the effects of climate change. It concludes with potential solutions which may strengthen an adaptive response.


  • fisheries
  • climate change
  • ocean governance
  • adaptation
  • CBD
  • CMS
  • marine biodiversity


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