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Book Chapter

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Oceans, Maritime Boundaries, International Disputes, Dispute Resolution, Cooperative Negotiation, Ocean Based Disputes


Oceans have immeasurable value. They are replete with natural resources and food sources; they enable transportation and recreation; they regulate earth’s climate. In sum, they make invaluable contributions to our physical, economic, and political well-being. And wherever there is something valuable, there are disputes over how that value should be maintained, grown, owned, and distributed. Internationally, disputes over maritime boundaries, access routes, drilling rights, and resource exploration are prolific. A sizeable bulk of international litigation is generated by ocean disputes. In the domestic context, disagreement among stakeholders as to environmental quality and pollution, natural resource management and conservation, geo-engineering, and ocean-based research and technology, are just some arenas of ocean-related disputes. Given the inevitability of such conflicts, it is prudent to consider how we ought to resolve our disputes when they arise. In this essay, I offer some reflections on the utility of informal dispute resolution through cooperative negotiation as a means of resolving ocean-based disputes responsibly and peacefully.