1999 RECOMMENDED WEB SITES FOR OCEAN AND COASTAL LAW

Amy Voigt*

I. Introduction

The United Nations General Assembly declared 1998 the International Year of the Ocean in order to raise awareness of the oceans and the need to protect and conserve our marine resources through actions at the global, regional, and national levels. The oceans of the world are vital to all yet belong to no one. It touches every aspect of our lives from commerce to recreation to medicine. As Earth becomes less about national and regional divisions and more like one global village, due in great part to the advent of the World Wide Web, governments, industry, and individuals alike have come to realize that many of the issues we face in our own backyard others around the world face as well. In order to prevent a few from taking control of a resource of the many and to prevent a "tragedy of the commons," international law has been created in the form of the Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is laws such as this on a global scale and interpretations of it on a national scale that has caused the proliferation of this important, and often hotly contested, body of jurisprudence.

For a few years now, this Journal has made a commitment to helping its readers utilize the Internet as an integral and economically feasible way to conduct legal research on all kinds of environmental and land use topics. With the enormous scope of this area of the law, however, it becomes necessary to narrow the field a bit in order to better explore what information the Internet has to offer. In recent observance of the International Year of the Ocean in 1998 and the growing importance of our global seas and shores, this review has compiled a variety of recommended web sites focused on this area of law and policy.

The addresses are categorized under various topic areas for easy reference. These topic areas are Federal Government Agencies and Organizations, Florida Government Agencies and Organizations, Libraries and Directories, Magazines and Online News Services, Miscellaneous Oceans and Coastal Sites, Non-Profit and Other Activist Organizations, Non-U.S. Agencies and Information, Other State/Regional Agencies and Organizations, and Research Facilities, Organizations, and Projects. With the ever-growing popularity of the Internet as a forum of communication and shared knowledge, the number of web sites available are astronomical. Therefore, this list is far from inclusive but is meant instead to give a flavor for what is accessible through the Internet.

II. Federal Government Agencies and Organizations

URL: http://www.nmfs.gov

The NMFS provides services and products to support domestic and international fisheries management operations, fisheries development, trade and industry assistance activities, enforcement, protected species and habitat conservation operations, and the scientific and technical aspects of NOAA's marine fisheries program. This site contains links to specific projects that are going on in the NMFS along with access to the eight regional fishery management councils and the different science centers around the United States. In addition, links to the resource laws that guide the NOAA fisheries.

URL: http://www.nos.noaa.gov

This agency advocates for coastal and ocean stewardship through partnerships with scientific, management, and public policy groups. This site is their homepage, which contains links to educational programs, scientific data such as nautical charts, and information on the national marine sanctuaries and dealing with oil and chemical spills. This is an excellent site for updates on current events and news.

URL: http://www.noaa.gov

This is the main page for NOAA and is your springboard to all the agencies and offices under their umbrella. This includes the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS); the National Weather Service (NWS); the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR); the National Ocean Service; and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). These individual agency sites will be discussed in more detail later.

Along with these listings, NOAA gives you links to relevant legislative & public affairs and highlights special events and announcements affecting the air and the sea, including NOAA's State of the Coast report which acts as a report card on the nation's efforts to advance responsible stewardship of the oceans and coastal areas.

URL: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

This is a necessary bookmark for anyone living in a coastal region of the United States or abroad. The National Hurricane Center provides satellite imagery, aircraft reconnaissance pictures, historical data on hurricanes and cyclones along with updated advisories during storm seasons in both the Atlantic/Gulf region and the East Pacific region.

URL: http://www.uscg.mil

The U.S. Coast Guard's area of responsibility is defined by the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) encompassing 2.5 million square miles of sea and 90,000 miles of coastline. This site contains all sorts of great info about the enforcement, jurisdiction, and responsibilities of the U.S. Coast Guard and the links jump to everything from marine safety and environmental protection to an award-winning clearinghouse on recreational boating safety regulations, news, and issues.

URL: http://www.epa.gov/OWOW

This is a great informational site. It not only covers ocean and coastal protection issues such as pollution, reef protection, and dredging, but also contains links to important marine topics such as wetlands, estuaries, and restoration projects. Each link describes educational and scientific programs and ongoing news within that area of study as well as how to get in touch with administrators in each field.

URL: http://www.fmc.gov

The FMC is an independent government agency who is responsible for the regulation of shipping in the foreign trades of the United States. This includes protecting U.S. shippers and carriers from restrictive or anti-competitive foreign rules and regulations, piracy by foreign flag carriers, and maintains electronic tariff filings on all carriers operating between the United States and other countries.

This site includes links to current complaint filings, Commission rules, news releases, and most notably the Commission's new final rules that will be effective May 1, 1999.

URL: http://www.marad.dot.gov

This site is a good way to learn about and keep up with the U.S. merchant marines-a major participant in domestic and foreign waterborne commerce. Links from this page include the regulations governing the U.S. Maritime Administration and publications from the Administration.

URL: http://marine.usgs.gov

Their mission is to investigate geologic issues of coastal and marine areas under the themes of Environmental Quality and Preservation, Natural Hazards and Public Safety, Natural Resources, and Earth Sciences Information and Technology.

This page includes links to the 5-year national plan for geologic research on issues affecting the nation's coastal and marine realms; current research projects of the Marine Geology Program; listings for related research centers; and the Coastal and Marine Program newsletter, Soundwaves.

III. Florida Government Agencies and Organizations

URL: http://www.dca.state.fl.us/ffcm

The FCMP is Florida's lead agency on state coordination of governmental activities related to the protection, preservation, and development of Florida's coastal resources.

This site contains a link to the Florida State Clearinghouse, which circulates applications for federal activities, including federal permits and funding, to government agencies that have statutory authority over some part of the activity. This is a good site for those who want information on projects within the state of Florida and the progress of the necessary permits. Also, the public commenting process for each permit is explained. Please note this site is still under construction so be patient for a little while longer.

URL: http://www2.dep.state.fl.us/water/beaches

This site provides access to Bureau rules, fees, publications, and various types of data and technical reports in an easy to use PDF format and Microsoft Word format. In the coming months, Coastal GIS data will be added but for now there is plenty to keep the interested coastal watcher busy. This includes links to DEP's Beach Erosion Control Program, Coastal Construction Control Line Permitting Program, shoreline surveying activities, and general research analysis studies.

It's not an outstanding springboard site, but it does contain a lot of useful information

URL: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/marine

Includes links to its five bureaus and to the director of the division, which is always helpful. The best services offered are the links to the Bureau of Marine Resource Regulation and Development and the Office of Fisheries and Assistance Services.

This is a good site for practical use by fishermen or anyone actively involved in the industry, however it is not very good for any extensive research.

URL: http://fcn.state.fl.us/gfc/gfchome.html

An informative and easy to use web site containing some excellent information on the Florida panther, the state animal, as well as general sections for the casual nature watcher and the avid hunter on news, viewing areas, seasons, trails, and the like.

In their links section, there are links to other wildlife resource agencies in every other state in the Union, other federal agencies, other Florida agencies, various wildlife and hunting links, and non-profit organizations.

URL: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/mfc

Note: This URL will be changing in the near future due to the unification of the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission to form the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission-so be watching.

The best part about this website is its related links page. This is a great page to use to access any of the other Florida marine regulatory agencies, commercial fishing groups and organizations, nationwide fisheries commissions, recreation activities, and sportsman magazines.

URL: http://fcn.state.fl.us/nwfwmd (Northwest Florida)

http://www.srwmd.state.fl.us (Suwannee River)

http://sjr.state.fl.us (St. Johns River)

http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us (Southwest Florida)

http://www.sfwmd.gov (South Florida)

These sites are listed together because each is very area specific and some are not very extensive. The most informative of these are the South Florida and St. Johns sites.

URL: http://www2.dep.state.fl.us/weds/weds.html

The site is provided by Florida's Department of Environmental Protection and is a main access point to information on Florida's wetlands. Information includes what a Florida wetland is and how they are delineated along with access to publications and regulations.

Provides links to sites dealing with the classification of plants and soils, the study of hydrology, and the study of wetlands and wetland policy.

IV. Libraries and Directories

URL: http://www.csa.com/routenet/newaccess.html

You can either subscribe to this service or access it as a guest, which is what the address above is used for. Either way, this is a clearinghouse of information news, periodicals, etc. dealing with all sorts of environmental issues, including oceans and coastal issues.

This site is very user friendly and easy to maneuver. None of the resources are readily accessible online, unfortunately, but you are able to search for relevant texts online and then find out how to order them from Cambridge.

URL: http://www.fimus.dk/idxeng.htm

This is a site based in Denmark and can be read in English or Danish. It is basically a clearinghouse of sorts on the study of maritime history with special fields in coastal communities of the North Atlantic, the North Sea, and the Baltic from the Middle Ages to the present. This web page is recommended for anyone interested in information on international fisheries and marine politics and issues.

URL: http://www.oceanlaw.org/index.html

This web site is primarily a reference center, document library, and guide to information related to the development and application of ocean law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), its status and application, the U.S. positions and actions with regard to the Convention, and ocean policy issues in the United States and other countries.

It gives links to the 1982 UNCLOS, the 1994 Agreement regarding the UNCLOS, and the Agreement on Straddling Stocks along with other great links. This site is still a work in progress and is gladly taking suggestions to make it better.

URL: http://ioc.unesco.org/iocweb

The objectives of the IOC include developing and facilitating international environmental programs to study global oceans, providing international leadership in planning and establishing an operational global ocean observing system, and lending assistance and education for global ocean observation programs.

Their lead page gives IOC headlines for the week on everything from research projects to upcoming symposiums in the field. There is also access to EURASLIC-Directory of European Aquatic Science Libraries and Information Centres. It is fairly small, but it can be searched by library or by subject within a variety of mediums.

URL: http://www.nwi.fws.gov

This site is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Habitat Conservation, and was created to generate information about the characteristics, extent and status of the Nation's wetlands and deepwater habitats. The page includes information on maps, products and services, publications, and even a Q & A page where you can ask "Dr. Wetland" all you pressing wetland questions.

URL: http://www.csc.noaa.gov/CID

This is a general directory that searches a variety of databases and libraries throughout the United States for descriptions of coastal data, information, and products. Ways to search include by subject keyword or by state.

URL: http://www.wrclib.noaa.gov

This is labeled as an index to desktop resources for the Northwestern United States through the University of Washington and NOAA's Western Regional Center. Because this is a NOAA library, it contains information on both oceanography and fisheries biology and atmospheric sciences. A very convenient and fairly extensive research library.

URL: http://www.sils.org/find-ocean.htm

This is a resource library sponsored by the Society of International Law in Singapore. It is very informative and contains links to UN organs; texts of major international instruments dating back to 1946; institutions in Singapore and through Asia, the Pacific, and the United States; and journals and yearbooks on ocean law and policy. A definite bookmark for anyone with international oceans law development.

URL: http://scilib.ucsd.edu/sio/inst/index.html

One of the most extensive directories I've seen on the topic. It provides many U.S. links, admittedly biased toward California and the Pacific coast, but these include federal agencies, California State agencies, U.S. non-governmental institutions and coordinating bodies, and non-U.S. and international institutions and coordinating bodies.

Another definite bookmark for international and domestic oceans and coastal policy and research.

URL: http://toast.pmel.noaa.gov/admin/scripts/acronyms.plx

Sponsored by the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, this site is very handy for those of us who come across an acronym that we either do not know what it stands for or what the organization does. This search page provides the answers to both of these questions and will always be useful with the array of new groups popping up all the time.

URL: http://www.actwin.com/WWWVL-Fish.html

This site is a springboard for finding information and resources on aquariums as a hobby, fish biology (ichthyology), aquatic environmentalism, and sport fishing.

URL: http://www.mth.uea.ac.uk/ocean

An outstanding clearinghouse on oceanography research. You can search by subject heading, geographical location, and organization as well as find links to marine study societies, publications, and upcoming conferences.

V. Magazines and Online News Services

URL: http://www.beachcombers.org/frmain.htm

This is a newsletter put out by the Beachcombers and Oceanographers' International Association and provides pictures and clippings on the wide variety of debris that end up on U.S. shores. Quite an eye-opening sight.

URL: http://ioc.unesco.org/iocweb/news/newsroom.htm

This is a publication of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and has over fifty news stories at a time on its page that can be downloaded on oceans and coastal developments in countries all around the globe. No subscriptions required.

URL: http://www.sea-technology.com

This magazine comes both in electronic and print form and is the ocean marine industry's authority for ocean design, engineering, and applications of equipment and services. It's unclear if the issues are available online every month, but this month it is, so check it out. If you like what you see, subscriptions are available.

URL: http://www.enn.com/yoto

The Environmental News Network put this site together, which updates its news page just about every weekday with great information from around the world and information on ocean and marine exhibits and conferences.

Links involve the ocean's effects on everything from commerce to arts and entertainment. This is a really great site to use to keep current on news and information about the marine environment.

VI. Miscellaneous Oceans and Coastal Sites

URL: http://cyboard.com/CoastalAdvocate/index.html

The Coastal Advocate is a lobbying firm that provides consulting and lobbying services to coastal interests on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It serves property owners, business firms, and communities along the entire East Coast, primarily in New Jersey and Florida.

This is a useful page for those groups that may need advocacy help on a local or state level and can be joined online.

URL: http://www.ocean-nutrition.com/oceannutritioncanada/index.htm

For all you health buffs out there, this is the page for Ocean Nutrition Canada, an Atlantic seacoast company that specializes in research, development, and production of marine based health and nutritional products. Health supplements and other products can be ordered online and the recipe bank is a definite plus.

URL: http://www.pwia.org

PWIA was formed in 1987 as part of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Its goals are to promote safe and responsible operation of personal watercraft and to work with federal, state, and local agencies that have regulatory responsibilities for recreational boating.

It includes links on model legislation, law enforcement efforts, environmental protection and safety education, and "hot" issues in the personal watercraft industry.

VII. Non-profit and Other Activist Organizations

URL: http://www.cmc-ocean.org

The CMC is a non-profit organization dedicated solely to protecting ocean environments and conserving the global diversity of marine life as well as the promotion of citizen advocacy of these issues. This site gives an explanation of what the CMC is, links to their press releases, and an outline of the organization's platform and their action plan.

This is great for the citizen advocate who wants to get involved in ocean and coastal issues and includes e-petitions and membership opportunities.

URL: http://mcbi.org

The Marine Conservation Biology Institute is a non-profit organization based in Washington dedicated to safeguarding life in the sea by advancing the multidisciplinary science of marine conservation biology. This group holds workshops on emerging marine conservation issues, conducts lectures at various universities and legislative bodies, organized the first symposium on Marine Conservation Biology, and releases articles on marine conservation issues.

Relevant links include monthly updates on emerging developments in the field and interesting factoids on the marine environment.

URL: http://www.ovi.ca

OVI is a non-profit environmental organization based in Canada whose main goals are to advocate for responsible ocean use and maintenance of biodiversity, specifically coral reefs. This page includes links to some of the group's past projects, information on how you can join, and details on how to obtain a subscription to their publication, Seawinds.

URL: http://www.sdoceans.org/findex.htm

The San Diego Oceans Foundation is a non-profit organization that advocates for education and responsible use of the oceans in the San Diego and California area. Some of the interesting links are to ongoing projects the Foundation is working on along with all sorts of great info on the boating, fishing, and diving scenes in the San Diego area.

URL: http://planet-hawaii.com/sos

Since Hawaii is completely made up of islands, its coastal environment is of high priority. This site contains all sorts of updates on Hawaiian reef conditions and campaigns to protect the coral reefs and marine life in the Hawaiian Islands.

Available links include President Clinton's executive order on coral reefs and a wealth of websites on the celebration of the 1998-Year of the Ocean.

VIII. Non-U.S. Agencies and Organizations

URL: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/home_e.htm

The main areas this department covers are marine safety/environmental protection and conservation/sustainable resource use. This is an excellent springboard site into information on Canadian regulations and governmental programs in this area. The links of interest page gives the user access to the Canadian governmental agencies in this area, fisheries and oceans related sites, and other Canadian environmental sites.

This page is available in English or French.

URL: http://kaos.erin.gov.au/erin.html

This particular address is for the main search page, which contains a wealth of information on Australian environmental policy and projects. A very simple pull-down menu allows you to search any number of environmental topics including "Coasts and Marine" issues.

The links provided here give access to both governmental and non-governmental agencies along with general research information. This is a great site for those seeking a springboard into Australian environmental policy.

URL: http://www.un.org/Depts/los

This page is the official site for information and documents related to UNCLOS and is sponsored by the United Nations, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea. Links from this site include international organizations and institutions connected with the Convention, current press releases, and tribunal procedures and cases appearing before the International Tribunal for the Law for the Sea.

URL: http://www.oceansconservation.com/title/title.htm

This site is affiliated with Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans and its areas of focus include information on marine protected areas, integrated management, and marine ecosystem health. Also available is a database on Canada's Oceans Act, which delineates and provides guidance for managing Canada's EEZ, and provides access to other statutory acts and regulations governing ocean commerce and conservation.

IX. Other State and Regional Agencies and Organizations

URL: http://ceres.ca.gov/wetlands

This page is a compilation of public and private sector information including maps; environmental documents; agency roles in wetlands management, restoration, and mitigation activities; regulatory permitting and wetland policies.

URL: http://www.deq.state.or.us/wmc/cleanup/clean.htm

This site is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Waste Management and Cleanup Division and is the site for information on all sorts of procedures, regulations, and news on oil and chemical spills off the coast of Oregon. It contains links to their projects on site and spill response and other environmental issues.

URL: http://www.ganet.org/dnr/coastal

This is a thorough general springboard site for information and programs dealing with the education and protection of its coastal and marine life, courtesy of Georgia's Department of Natural Resources.

URL: http://www.dfw.state.or.us

This state agency's page nicely laid out and easy to maneuver style makes gaining access to information simple. It includes links to general information on fish and wildlife in the area as well as education efforts, research projects, and current events. From this site users can jump to other related Oregon agencies such as the Oregon MarineBoard and the Oregon Resources Department.

URL: http://www.wa.gov/puget_sound

The Action Team is a sub-agency of the Governor's office and is made up of the heads of ten state agencies, a city and a county representative, a representative of federally recognized tribes, and others. Its top priority is developing the work plan that will guide protection of Puget Sound over the next two years.

Includes links to the Puget Sound Water Quality Protection Act; the Work Plan; their publication; and information on education and news events.

X. Research Facilities, Organizations, and Projects

URL: http://www.awi-bremerhaven.de/index.html

This is the site of Germany's leading institute for polar and marine research. Their work and this site are focused on research of the ocean-ice-atmosphere system, polar communities, and the geological history of the polar continents and seas. There are links to the various branches of the Institute on geosciences, biology, and oceanic and atmospheric physics.

URL: http://www.cmrc.org

The CMRC is an independently owned research facility on Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas, a privately owned island. Recently, the facility became a NOAA National Undersea Research Center.

This is a very user-friendly site. The main page has a picture map that you can surf from and at the bottom of each link page is the same map to keep searching easy. Some of the links include info on specific and general projects at the facility along with ways for scientists to find out how they can use the facility. An excellent site for scientific info on the biodiversity of Florida and the Caribbean.

URL: http://www.marine.csiro.au

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) created its Marine Research Division in 1997 and has the responsibility for maintaining 16.1 million square miles of marine resources. This site lists recent press releases on news related to the division's jurisdiction as well as offering information on the activities of their research vessels, products and services offered by the division, and how to contact various CSIRO administrators.

URL: http://www.ifremer.fr/anglais/institut/index.htm

IFREMER is a French research facility under the auspices of the Ministries of Research and Technology, Fisheries, and Equipment and Transport. This site, available in both French and English, has links to the marine programs undertaken by the facility in ecosystem modeling, aquaculture, and ocean engineering to name a few. Links are provided to all of the Institute's facilities across France.

URL: http://www.joi-odp.org

The JOI is a consortium of U.S. academic institutions on research planning and management of the ocean sciences. Managed institutions include the international Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), the U.S. Science Support Program (USSSP), the SeaNet Planning Office, and the Secretariat for the Nansen Arctic Drilling Program. This site includes links to its individual member institutions, a list of their various publications, and a variety of related academic marine colleges and foreign ODP sites.

URL: http://www.mbari.org

A main focus of this site is developing state-of-the-art technology to improve scientific study of the oceans. It gives updates of its current research vessels along with current news on its technological developments.

URL: http://www.marinelab.sarasota.fl.us

Located in Sarasota, FL, this is an independent, non-profit research organization and much of the lab's efforts are directed toward the Southwest Florida coastal region. There are explanatory links to many of its ongoing projects including its Dolphin Research Program, shark research, sea turtle and marine mammal research and conservation, and manatee research.

URL: http://www.uncwil.edu/nurc

Located at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, this is the overseer for the six regional National Undersea Research Centers, of which the Caribbean Marine Research Center is one. Links to each can be found here along with general information on ocean and coastal science and technology. A link is in the works to provide an online catalog to all of the Centers' publications.

URL: http://www.onr.navy.mil

The ONR coordinates and promotes the science and technology programs of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps through universities, government laboratories, and non-profit and for-profit organizations. This site gives an inside look at the two military organizations and protocol to conduct scientific research including how to submit proposals, work on grants and contracts, and provides links to relevant regulations.

URL: http://www.tbep.org

This page is geared toward those who are practitioners and advocates of and for the Tampa Bay. It contains up to date information on the state of the bay, the goals and research programs of the Estuary Program and what it has accomplished so far. A good site for the individual marine watcher on how they can get involved in preserving this one-of-a-kind ecosystem.

URL: http://www.vims.edu

This is an academic program sponsored by the College of William and Mary that is not linked to the JOI site, but is worth mentioning if interested in doing marine research. It contains a fairly good library with access to a wide array of medical and scientific indexes as well as general reference books and VIMS publications. The best information available here is that of the Virginia/Atlantic area.

 

*   J.D., Florida State University College of Law (expected 2000); B.A., cum laude, Florida State University (1997).

1.  G.A. Res. 131, U.N. GAOR 2d Comm., 49th Sess., 92d plen. mtg. at 12, U.N. Doc. A/RES/49/131 (1994).

2.  United Nations, Public Inquiries Unit, U.N. Launches Expanded Internet Site on International Year of the Ocean, U.N. Doc. PI/1075 SEA/1590 (1998).

3.  Notwithstanding any fees applicable for Internet access.