New Online Searchable Database of Marine Laws

New Online Searchable Database of Marine Laws

Contact: Christina S. Johnson, , 858-822-5334

PALO ALTO – All of the laws pertaining to the management of the California Current ecosystem have been compiled into a single, searchable online database, publicly accessible through the Governance of the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem Website at

The massive compilation project – 1,466 state, federal and  international laws were included in the database – will hopefully help ocean stakeholders identify gaps, overlaps and inconsistencies in marine governance as it relates to the California Current ecosystem.

“The database allows you to explore different approaches in managing the same resource across jurisdictions,” says its creator, Julia Ekstrom, a former researcher and graduate student in marine policy at UC Santa Barbara, whose work was funded by the California Ocean Protection Council and California Sea Grant.  “You can also see which agencies have responsibility over whatever topics you are interested in and through what laws.”

The Website, which continues to be updated, allows users to perform keyword searches to find state and federal statutes and/or regulations with the keyword in their text. Bar charts show the number of laws under the jurisdiction of each relevant federal and state agency. State laws in Washington, Oregon and California are included in the digital library.

An article to appear in the May 2009 issue of the journal Marine Policy will detail techniques for using the database to analyze overlap in marine policies. A separate correspondence on the criteria used to assemble the database will appear in the same issue. A third article on how to use the database to identify gaps in ocean law is in review for publication.

Ekstrom, now a post-doctoral scholar at Stanford University, is currently working on building a software application to enable more advanced policy analyses using the database.



Governance of the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem Website


Hat tip to Joe Wible

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