16 episodes

Ocean Governance Podcast –
a podcast about ocean governance research

This podcast is dedicated to discussing recent publications from legal, social sciences and interdisciplinary journals dealing with ocean governance issues broadly construed. Being lawyers, we do this from a predominantly legal perspective but with a strong interest in the perspectives and contributions of other disciplines.

The aim is to draw attention to interesting publications, hopefully to make them accessible and to stimulate further discussion in different forums.


Hosts for the podcast are professor David Langlet and PhD candidate Aron Westholm, and it is brought to you by the Ocean Governance Group at the Law Department, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg. The group brings together various legal sub-disciplines, including law of the sea, EU law, environmental law, energy law, planning law and administrative law to bear upon current practical and intellectual challenges relating to human interaction with the oceans.

Ocean Governance Podcast Ocean Governance Podcast

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Ocean Governance Podcast –
a podcast about ocean governance research

This podcast is dedicated to discussing recent publications from legal, social sciences and interdisciplinary journals dealing with ocean governance issues broadly construed. Being lawyers, we do this from a predominantly legal perspective but with a strong interest in the perspectives and contributions of other disciplines.

The aim is to draw attention to interesting publications, hopefully to make them accessible and to stimulate further discussion in different forums.


Hosts for the podcast are professor David Langlet and PhD candidate Aron Westholm, and it is brought to you by the Ocean Governance Group at the Law Department, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg. The group brings together various legal sub-disciplines, including law of the sea, EU law, environmental law, energy law, planning law and administrative law to bear upon current practical and intellectual challenges relating to human interaction with the oceans.

    Epsiode 16 - Ways To Understand Complexity

    Epsiode 16 - Ways To Understand Complexity

    In the sixteenth episode of the Ocean Governance Podcast Aron and David discuss two articles that aim to analyse complexity, either in terms of how law is nested in an affected by social realities and ‘materiality’, or in the form of a multitude of policy instruments and their potential inconsistency.
    Complexity seems to be a perpetual challenge in marine management. Ecosystems are in need of delineation and simplification to be manageable, and the same goes for social systems. Both the regulatory structures that have been intentionally designed to pursue various policy objectives and address management challenges, and the multiple way in which laws and other regulatory structures affect and are affected by social structures and processes in the surrounding society are challenging to fully comprehend.

    The articles discussed in this episode are:

    O’Donnell, T., Coastal Lawscape: A framework for understanding the complexities of climate change adaptation, Marine Policy 129 (2021), 104532, doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2021.104532

    Rouillard, J., Lago, M., Abhold, K., Roeschel, L., Kafyeke, T., Klimmek, H., Mattheiß, V., Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity across the Freshwater, Coastal and Marine Realms: Is the existing EU policy framework fit for purpose?, Environmental Policy and Governance 28 (2017), 114-128, doi.org/10.1002/eet.1793

    If you want to comment on the content or otherwise communicate with us, please do so by sending an email to: aron.westholm@law.gu.se. We hope that you will enjoy listening!

    • 46 min
    Episode 15 - On Seals, Planning, And The Point Of Nature

    Episode 15 - On Seals, Planning, And The Point Of Nature

    In this, the fifteenth episode of the Ocean Governance Podcast we discuss two recent articles that engage with seas and oceans as resources. One does so by challenging, at a fundamental level the notion that nature, including species and ecosystems represent potentially useful functions and services, and critically inquiries what such a view does with the way we live with or in nature. It looks at the history of a teleological view of nature, i.e. essentially the idea that every creature has a purpose and a given role to perform in nature. A view that, the article contends, is very much alive today with managers dealing with nature protection. The core message of the article is that humanity was reached a point where we need to choose between living in nature or wholly become the gardeners of a new post-nature, with full responsibility for the structure and function of essentially manmade ecosystems designed to meet our various needs.

    The second article in a way embraces the view of the ocean as a resource – though not necessarily a manmade one – and goes on to discuss how it can be managed in a fair and sustainable manner. At centre stage is the phenomenon of ocean grabbing, which can take many different forms, and the potential role of marine spatial planning (MSP) in preventing, or potentially exacerbating this challenge to fair ocean access. The focus is on MSP in the “global south” – an often-neglected perspective – with the aim to help preventing some of the negative consequences that may follow if MSP is implemented without due consideration to local contexts and preconditions. The article is a clear example of the recent turn to more critical approaches in the scholarly discussion on MSP, but without in any way losing sight of the practical requirements and implications of MSP as a practical tool.

    Read together, these two articles help us challenge or nuance our thinking about ocean resources and MSP as an instrument for their rational and sustainable use. The utility of that should be beyond doubt in an age where we are increasingly placing ourselves as managers of the very planet on which we live.

    The two articles discussed in this episode are:

    J. M. Weslawski, Why Does the Seal Exist? Teleology in the Present-Day Human Relation to Animals

    B. Queffelecand others, Marine spatial planning and the risk of ocean grabbing in the tropical Atlantic, ICES Journal of Marine Science (2021), fsab006, https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsab006

    If you want to comment on the content or otherwise communicate with us, please do so by sending an email to: aron.westholm@law.gu.se.
    We hope that you will enjoy listening!

    • 44 min
    Episode 14 - The Marine Arctic: What Role For Law When The Ice Recedes?

    Episode 14 - The Marine Arctic: What Role For Law When The Ice Recedes?

    The fourteenth episode of the Ocean Governance Podcast is dedicated to governance of the marine Arctic and its resources. To discuss this topic, Aron and David are joined by Gabriela Argüello who as a post doc at the School of Business Economics and Law at Gothenburg university studies Arctic governance from a legal and institutional perspective.

    The Arctic is subject to much political as well as scholarly attention and increasing levels of human activities. This applies not least to many marine areas in the Arctic which are becoming increasingly attractive due to climate change and a receding ice cover. This opens for shipping and fishing in areas where such activities have hardly been possible before. Increased access to previously unexploited areas gives rise to many challenges, including how fragile Arctic ecosystems can be protected against pollution and resource depletion. Although much of the marine Arctic falls under the national jurisdiction of the five Arctic coastal states (Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, Russia, and the United States) there are still large areas, including the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO) that count as areas beyond national jurisdiction. In respect to these areas, is it urgent to ensure that new opportunities for resource utilisation do not result in an unregulated race to capture as much as possible of resources of which little is still known. Against this backdrop, the 2018 Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Arctic Fisheries, entered into by the five arctic coastal states and some important non-Arctic states as well as the European Union is a promising sign that states are able to pursue common long-term interests in the Arctic. In no way, however, does it mean that all the legal and political challenges associated with ensuring a sustainable and precautious approach to Arctic resource management have been overcome. The episode discusses two recent articles that look at this situation from slightly different perspectives, providing important pieces of knowledge to understand the increasingly complex jigsaw puzzle of Arctic marine governance.


    The articles discussed in this episode are:
    Y. Tanaka, Changing Paradigms in the Law of the Sea and the Marine Arctic, 35:3 The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law (2020), 439–467, doi.org/10.1163/15718085-BJA10012

    A. N. Vylegzhanin, O. R. Young, P. A. Berkman, The Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries Agreement as an element in the evolving Arctic Ocean governance complex, 118 Marine Policy (2020),
    104001, doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2020.104001.

    If you want to comment on the content or otherwise communicate with us, please do so by sending an email to: aron.westholm@law.gu.se.

    We hope that you will enjoy listening!

    • 50 min
    Episode 13 - Maritime Boundaries In A Changing Ocean

    Episode 13 - Maritime Boundaries In A Changing Ocean

    The thirteenth episode of the Ocean Governance Podcast looks at maritime boundaries and the challenges that maritime delimitation and the zoning system face in a time of rising sea levels and intensified demand for maritime resources. How come that more than half of all maritime boundaries have not been finally agreed by the states concerned, and what demands do rising sea levels place on the law and policy of maritime delimitation and zoning? In discussing this, Aron Westholm and David Langlet are aided by a guest, Snjólaug Árnadóttir. Among other things, Snjólaug is a member of the International Law Association’s Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise and has written extensively on maritime boundaries.

    In the episode, we discuss two very recent texts. One looks in some detail at the legal options for preventing the dramatic shrinking or complete disappearance of maritime zones due to rising sea levels. The other takes a broader historical and functional approach to the topic of maritime boundaries, querying why maritime boundaries are so frequently disputed and how to understand the legal and political principles that frame endeavours to settle such disputes.

    The articles discussed in this episode are:

    Alfred H.A. Soons, ‘The Effects of Sea Level Rise on Baselines and Outer Limits of Maritime Zones’, in Tomas Heidar (ed), New Knowledge and Changing Circumstances in the Law of the Sea (Brill 2020), 358-381.

    Andreas Østhagen, ‘Maritime boundary disputes: What are they and why do they matter?’, 120 Marine Policy (2020) 104118.

    Also mentioned in this episode is P.E. Steinberg, The Social Construction of the Ocean, Cambridge University Press, 2001.

    If you want to comment on the content or otherwise communicate with us, please do so by sending an email to: aron.westholm@law.gu.se.

    We hope that you will enjoy listening!

    • 48 min
    Episode 12 - The Social Cost Of Combatting Illegal Fisheries

    Episode 12 - The Social Cost Of Combatting Illegal Fisheries

    The theme of the twelfth episode of the Ocean Governance Podcast is fishing and more specifically issues relating so called IUU fishing, i.e. illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. As usual, we approach the theme by discussing a couple of recently published articles. This time both articles approach the theme from a developing country perspective and look at the particular challenges associated with regulating, controlling and enforcing fisheries regulation in relation to small scale or subsistence fishing. The first article problematizes the application of the IUU concept to small-scale fisheries practices and points to ways in which large scale attempts to combat IUU fishing, including by the imposition of trade restrictive measures, could be better adjusted to the particular needs and challenges of small scale fisheries. The second article looks at the complexities of addressing illegal fishing in the small-scale fisheries sector in South Africa and the potential roles of criminal law and human rights-based approaches.

    In this episode, Aron and David are joined by Nkeiru Scotcher who as a post doc researcher is studying the legitimacy of regional approaches to ocean governance with a particular focus on Africa's Integrated Maritime Strategy.

    The articles discussed in this episode are:

    A. M. Song, J. Scholtens, K. Barclay, S. R. Bush, M. Fabinyi, D. S. Adhuri, M. Haughton, Collateral damage? Small‐scale fisheries in the global fight against IUU fishing, Fish and Fisheries, published online 22 April 2020, https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12462


    M. Isaacs and E. Witbooi, Fisheries crime, human rights and small-scale fisheries in South Africa: A case of bigger fish to fry, Marine Policy 105 (2019) 158–168.

    If you want to comment on the content or otherwise communicate with us, please do so by sending an email to: aron.westholm@law.gu.se.
    We hope that you will enjoy listening!

    • 51 min
    Episode 11 - Genetic Resources Beyond National Jurisdiction – More Law Than Resources?

    Episode 11 - Genetic Resources Beyond National Jurisdiction – More Law Than Resources?

    The eleventh episode of the Ocean Governance Podcast focuses on marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction, i.e. on the high seas and in the deep seabed known as ‘the Area’. In this episode, Aron and David are joined by Niels Krabbe who is finalising a PhD thesis in which he investigates how the appropriation of marine genetic resources is regulated in three different regimes of international law: the law of the sea, intellectual property rights law and environmental law.

    Regulating marine genetic resources is highly complex for a number of reasons. Among these are that the same organism is viewed very differently depending how it is (intended to be) used, and can also be subject to quite distinct legal regimes depending on where it is accessed.

    As usual, we discuss a couple of articles. The first one sets out a rather elaborate model for a “fair and effective” regime regulating benefit-sharing of marine genetic resources from areas beyond national jurisdiction. The model aims to safeguard multiple objectives, including inclusion of developing states, promotion of scientific research and safeguarding of private investments. It should be seen as input to the ongoing international negotiation of a legally binding instrument on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction.

    The second article is based on an analysis of a huge set of data on genetic sequences of marine origin associated with patents. The data reveals who has had the requisite resources and also the interest in exploring marine genetic resources. It also cast some doubts on the assumption that such resources represent an enormous economic potential.

    Together the two texts highlight many of the pressing challenges associated with achieving a well-functioning regime for marine genetic resources beyond national jurisdiction, i.e. what is currently being pursued with the Intergovernmental Conference on an international legally binding instrument under UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

    The articles discussed in this episode are:

    A.Broggiato, T. Vanagt, L. E. Lallier, M. Jaspars, G. Burton, D. Muyldermans, Mare Geneticum: Balancing Governance of Marine Genetic Resources in International Waters, 33 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law (2018): 3–33.

    R. Blasiak, J.-B. Jouffray, C. C. C. Wabnitz, E. Sundström, H. Österblom, Corporate control and global governance of marine genetic resources, 4:6 Science Advances (2018), article-id eaar5237.

    If you want to comment on the content or otherwise communicate with us, please do so by sending an email to: aron.westholm@law.gu.se.

    We hope that you will enjoy listening!

    • 52 min

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