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Manuscript Submission Deadline 01 September 2023
Manuscript Extension Submission Deadline 01 October 2023

Environments have no boundaries and no borders. Managing oceanic environments, particularly the threats and risks of pollution, should also consider the shared responsibility of all coastal states. Emerging issues for oceanic pollution governance include global changes like rising temperature, ocean ...

Environments have no boundaries and no borders. Managing oceanic environments, particularly the threats and risks of pollution, should also consider the shared responsibility of all coastal states. Emerging issues for oceanic pollution governance include global changes like rising temperature, ocean acidification, but also disturbances of ecosystem functioning by plastic and pollution by other emerging contaminants, for example, noise pollution and deep-sea mining. These call for efficient and sustainable prevention and restoration strategies, such as such as efficient urban and industrial sewage treatment plants, efficiently administered transnational marine protected areas, and among others, sustainable aquaculture, extensive small-scale fisheries. Environmental protection warrants the development of interrelationships between marine sciences, relevant industries, and ocean governance developing internationally accepted rules and regulations for sustainable ocean management. This Research Topic will explore possible new domains of ocean governance and the marine environment from the interdisciplinary perspectives of the rule of law including the international agreement on equal conventions, the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, the Convention on the International Regulation for Preventing Collisions at Sea, and International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

As for marine pollution, the international community has recognised marine plastic pollution (MPP) as a significant impediment to sustainable oceanic development. Mismanaged plastic waste essentially ends up in oceans through littering from shores, run-offs from sewage systems, or by rivers and wind, and shipboard discharge. Ocean currents then carry plastic items across the oceans, making MPP a global and transboundary issue. Therefore, MPP has become a widespread problem in most parts of the oceans. Some ecological, as well as socio-economic implications of MPP, are now well recognised, while other consequences are more complex and challenging to study. With the amount of plastic produced globally expected to double over the next ten to fifteen years, urgent action, governance and management changes are needed to prevent and reduce MPP. Measures upstream are crucial to prevent plastic pollution from both land and sea entering the ocean. MPP is an urgent environmental and socio-economic problem that severely impacts marine ecosystems and harms livelihoods. Its governance is still fragmented across borders because of limited regional coordination, calling for an international agreement to extend, complement, and challenge existing global, regional, national, sub-national, and local initiatives. The present Research Topic will analyse the prevailing practices adopted worldwide and provide evidence supporting the need for a unified international agreement for MPP, and recommend policy implications about how this legal arrangement may potentially work and resourcefully address the issue of MPP.

This Research Topic will follow the updated development concerning marine pollution from the perspectives of environmental laws, legal concepts and practices to the emergence of the present situation of ocean governance. It will also examine related challenges in recent decades and how these differ from traditional practices. Also, it will bring a more critical stance from diverse authors across the globe to shed light on the disastrous effects of marine pollution in order to change governance and policies towards the marine environment.

This Research Topic will also assess the multiple environmental impacts and pressures on the seas by collecting transdisciplinary research results related to the marine environment. This effort will ultimately lead to a more holistic, integrated assessment of ecosystem health of the marine environment. In addition to coming up with novel scientific research results, this Research Topic will assist stakeholders with guidance about novel emerging multidisciplinary approaches in applying sustainable data management, data reporting and flows about recent developments in marine sciences and the environment, assessments supporting the development and implementation of relevant policies, most up-to-date and relevant information-sharing and indicators of the marine environment, networking for better communication and coordination of ocean governance aiming at healthy marine environments through the rule of law.
The issues of our Research Topic include but are not restricted to the following themes:
• the rule of law in protecting the marine environment;
• the rule of law in marine pollution management;
• sustainable management of marine environments;
• legal concerns about the degradation of marine environments;
• ocean governance ensuring marine environment;
• recent developments in marine sciences related to marine environments;
• offshore activities concerning the exploitation and exploration of natural resources and their impacts on the oceans;
• human pressure on fishing affecting marine ecosystem integrity;
• port and shipping activities endangering the marine environment;
• impacts of marine litter and underwater noise on ecosystem health;
• the need for interdisciplinary as well as global cooperation concerning the marine environment.

Keywords: marine environment, marine plastic pollution, ocean governance, the rule of law, sustainable environment at sea

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