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International Regulation of Ocean Pollution and Ocean Fisheries  

Peter Jacques

The World Ocean, the interconnected system of oceans and major seas on Earth, faces a major governance failure that has produced a series of catastrophic systemic changes to the marine food web and the water column across all scales. As each era passes, ocean sustainability has become less of a priority compared to economic extraction, though there were many institutions forged in the post-War period, and these are explained, concluding with the development of a purposefully weak effort to protect biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdictions. Fisheries are systematically mismanaged, and there are now serious concerns for large-scale, even global, fishery collapses. Longstanding pollution issues like oil pollution have improved, but a new class of “invisibles”—carbon dioxide, heat, nitrogen, and plastics—offer growing threats. The solution to these problems must be integrated, comprehensive, and ambitious—something the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction language does not promise.