The Monmouth University Institute for Global Understanding (IGU) and Urban Coast Institute (UCI) hosted a Global Ocean Governance Lecture Series talk on Nov. 5 titled “Connected, Dynamic, at Risk: Coastal Nation Interests in a Strong New High Seas Biodiversity Treaty.” Lecture speakers included Rutgers University Associate Professor Cymie Payne and Guillermo Ortuño Crespo, a postdoctoral researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and coordinator of early career professional engagement for the U.N. Decade of Ocean Science.
Further reading: The Debate: Time for the U.S. to Sign the Law of the Sea Treaty? (PDF, includes article by Payne)
Human exploitation of the open ocean has increased rapidly over the past few decades. International agreements that manage individual commercial sectors have not kept pace with the rate of expansion of maritime industries or the effects of climate change that are already being experienced, resulting in poor management of high seas species and ecosystems. Coastal nations like the U.S., with large exclusive economic zones (EEZs), may be the first to experience the negative impacts of poor management beyond their national jurisdiction: ecological connectivity across maritime boundaries connects hundreds of ocean species to the high seas. Years of negotiation are coming to fruition with a new treaty to manage conservation and sustainable use of life in the connected, dynamic global ocean. The challenge for governments is to prioritize long-term health over short-term sectoral interests with an effective treaty for biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). It will be pivotal for ensuring the health and well-being of U.S. ecosystems and coastal communities.
Cymie R. Payne is an associate professor at Rutgers University. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Human Ecology and at Rutgers Law School. Professor Payne has appeared as counsel before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in its deep seabed mining and fisheries advisory opinion cases. Currently, she is legal advisor to International Union for Conservation of Nature’s delegation to the intergovernmental conference for a legally binding agreement on conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction and chair of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental, Ocean Coasts and Coral Reefs Specialist Group. She has also been a member of the Berkeley Law faculty and served as an attorney with the U.S. Department of the Interior, the law firm of Goodwin, Procter and the U.N. Security Council’s environmental war reparations program. Professor Payne holds a M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Guillermo Ortuño Crespo is a marine ecologist with a master of science from the University of St. Andrews in ecosystem-based management of marine systems and a doctorate in marine science and conservation from Duke University. Ortuño Crespo specializes in the spatial ecology patterns of distribution of both pelagic species (such as tuna, billfish and sharks) and that of pelagic fisheries (including purse seines and longliners) to identify areas of high risk and opportunity for sustainable fishing in the open ocean. He has been an active participant in the ongoing high seas BBNJ negotiations highlighting the importance of improving fisheries management beyond national jurisdiction through more transparent operations and a wider use of spatial management tools to reduce bycatch. Throughout his postdoc at the Stockholm Resilience Centre he will be working on a novel spatial management study in collaboration with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) to develop the first ever tuna-RFMO dynamic spatial management strategy. As part of his commitment to the U.N. Decade of Ocean Science, Ortuño Crespo is facilitating the conversation on corporate sustainability among early career professionals with the ultimate objective of fostering strong relationships between upcoming science, conservation or technology young leaders and those companies which show determination in leading the way towards a more sustainable future.