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Marine governance, adaptation, and legitimacy

Marine governance, adaptation, and legitimacy

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  • Elizabeth A. Kirk

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-139
Number of pages30
JournalYearbook of International Environmental Law 2013
Early online date6 Nov 2012
StatePublished - 2012


From time to time, changes in behaviour, or in understanding, in the marine
environment itself, or in society’s values, demand a change or a development in
the law. At times, this development fits with the existing principles underpinning
the law, but at other times it demands revision of those core principles. This
necessity gives rise to a number of questions. Does such change always take
place? Does, for example, the evolution of scientific understanding automatically
lead to evolution in the law? If it does not, then how and why do changes come
about in some regimes and not others? What do the answers to these questions
tell us about international law or about the concept of legitimacy in international
law and whether or not it is maintained during periods of change within regimes?
These are the questions examined in this article with the aid of three issue areas:
the adoption and maintenance of the whaling moratorium, dumping at sea, and
fishing. In relation to fishing, a particular case study is also highlighted—the
introduction of a discards ban within the European Union (EU).

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