William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review


The world’s oceans are in crisis. Climate change impacts, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution, fisheries collapse, impacts to marine mammals, and vessel-based pollution are among the many threats the marine environment faces today. Fish biomass is predicted to drop by 3% to 25% by the end of the century due to climate change. Worse still, the amount of plastic in the world’s aquatic ecosystems is on track to hit 23 to 37 million tons per year by 2040.


This Article reviews recent successes and obstacles in using litigation as a tool to address these concerns across several contexts in the marine environment. It surveys developments at the international, national, and subnational levels. The Article offers lessons from creative climate litigation strategies as a way to enhance litigation to protect the marine environment. It also recommends ways in which the ocean-climate nexus can provide mutual benefits in advancing the agendas of climate change regulation and ocean stewardship.

This abstract has been taken from the authors' introduction.