Marine Policy

Lively debates in Catherine (Katy) Robinson Hall’s (S’84) policy class introduce you to current issues in marine law and policy and will prompt you to formulate opinions regarding marine mammal protection, oil spill management, ocean and coastal pollution, coastal zone management, fisheries conservation, private and public shoreline rights, coastal storm and hazard mitigation, and other modern coastal and ocean issues. Policy is an interdisciplinary field that brings together nearly every facet of ocean and marine study. From ecology to history to law to sociology to economics to literature, policies formulated to regulate the uses of our ocean and coastal ecosystems are an accumulation of perspectives and understandings gained from almost every discipline.

As you become familiar with the dynamic and ever-changing nature of marine policies and laws, the seminar format of this class unfolds into discussions and debates that challenge you to explore concepts that take you out of your comfort zone, and broaden your views of current issues facing our nation’s coasts and ocean. You will better understand the effects these policies have on our daily lives, our society, and our natural marine and coastal resources. You will have an opportunity to argue a compelling public beach access case before a panel of appellate judges, delving into important constitutional precepts that continue to be challenged today in our own United States Supreme Court.

You’ll also choose a topic to follow closely throughout the semester and will prepare a primary research paper in which you’ll explore that topic in depth, interpret its origins and causes, and present viable solutions in accordance with marine law. Your task is to contact stakeholders and others directly involved in a currently contested marine policy issue, conducting personal interviews to get the facts first-hand, rather than relying on newspaper accounts or web sources.

From fisheries to whaling to hurricanes and barrier islands — from international port security and piracy to coastal pollution — policy class tackles a multitude of contemporary marine and coastal law topics that continue to challenge policymakers today.