Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations

First Advisor

Jean Krasno

Second Advisor

Bruce Cronin


International, governance, international law, international waters, IUU fishing, piracy


This thesis explores why international maritime governance regimes have inconsistent rates of success. The global community relies on the world’s oceans for food, trade, and resources. Therefore, the regulation of these oceans is necessary to provide adequate passage through its waters and the management of all the resources they supply for the mutual benefit of all. Although there are international laws such as the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), many of these laws fail to address current global threats and have proven inadequate in forming proactive collective responses. It is particularly problematic addressing transnational criminal behavior. I argue that four criteria are absolutely necessary to determine whether any collective regimes will be successful. The first of these criteria includes states’ political will to cooperate with one another to recognize and address shared concerns. Secondly, the structure of international law needs to be formulated in a way that clearly defines states’ rights and obligations. Third, international law must be integrated into a state’s domestic legal framework that would allow the court system to have effective jurisdiction to prosecute criminals. Lastly, states need to have the enforcement capacity to effectively deter criminal behavior and strengthen state sovereignty. All four of these criteria must be present in a successful maritime governance regime. I offer two case studies on this subject: The first case study discusses maritime piracy, international efforts to ensure the freedom of navigation, and protect international trade. The second examines illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing which addresses the sustainable exploitation of the seas to ensure food security and market stability. The following cases demonstrate clear 3 evidence that international maritime governance currently lacks effective compliance and enforcement.



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