Taskforce on Ocean Governance


Historically, oceans have been major sources of food and revenue for coastal communities, coastal nations, and some parts of the global population. However, with increasing populations and changing dietary desires, the fishery resources have been overstretched and are thus unable to meet the current demand. To supply the demand for seafood globally in addition to improving incomes and economies, aquaculture is a new frontier that is attracting interventions from different quarters like government, private sector, non-profit organisations and researchers. To exploit the ocean aquaculture potential, many issues remain to be addressed that include who benefits (community, nation or investors), policy requirements needed for sustainability, allocation of ocean space or zoning, and environmental integrity among other competing interests. Addressing these issues requires attention to the structure of power relationships among different actors, the creation and utilization of knowledge, the formal and behavioural norms that are operative in specific situations, and the diversity of scale of production and advocacy and governance. This attention must encompass the multiple interacting levels of governance, economic production and exchange, and civil society in the earth system. Other aspects that need consideration for aquaculture governance include introduction of alien and genetically-modified species for aquaculture, biodiversity issues and conflicting interests of different agencies nationally and globally in ocean governance. These aspects implicate consideration of the multi-level architecture of governance, the differential capacity for agency of social and non-social actors, the adaptiveness and resilience of diverse arrangements, the effectiveness of transparency and accountability among social actors, and the structure and process of allocation and access of benefits and harms. Members of this cluster investigate these elements of aquaculture governance, which is closely connected to the ESG-Oceans cluster on the Blue Economy.

If you’d like to join the cluster, please click here to become a member. This will allow you to post information on the page and give you the opportunity to receive information and updates via the Oceans Taskforce listserve.

While we do not have funding ourselves, we do hope to foster joint projects via Working Groups, which would bring together cluster members to write grant proposals, put together collected volumes/special issues, or develop webinars, workshops, syllabi, or similar products. All projects should focus on the cluster topic and fit within the ESG Science Plan (http://www.earthsystemgovernance.org/research-agenda/). Working group members should come from more than one institution and should have sufficient expertise to accomplish project goals. Forming a working group can help you to expand your professional network. It will also provide mentoring from the cluster leaders and access to logistical support like web-conferencing from ESG headquarters. To submit a Working Group proposal, please fill out this form and send it to the cluster leader(s) listed below. If you’d like to propose a Working Group that fits in more than one cluster, please send it to the leaders of each cluster in a single e-mail. Scroll down for descriptions of active Working Groups.

Cluster Leader:

Craig Harris
Michigan State University, USA

David Oersted Mirera
Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute


Active Working Groups: