The Outlaw Ocean 3.0 (Law 807K)

Illegal fishing has long plagued the world’s oceans, undermining economic development, national security, food security, and human rights — and nowhere is this more starkly evident than in the Pacific Ocean. From cans of tuna to shrimp cocktail, the legality of how this seafood is caught and processed is often uncertain. A recent World Resources Institute study estimates that half of illegal marine trading networks come from the Pacific, totaling between 3.7 and 7.2 million tons of fish stolen from fishermen and coastal nations. Of further critical concern is the role of forced labor within the industry.

This policy lab confronts the global environmental, human rights and privacy challenges associated with the existing framework of international laws and policies. The research delves into international laws that apply to the high seas, illegal fishing and forced labor and slavery to locate leverage points and explore innovative solutions, including how new technologies might be developed and deployed. The research contributes to the agendas of two organizations that are leaders in addressing Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in supply chains (FishWise), and idenfifying leverage points to reduce forced labor and slavery in fishing activities (Rights Lab, University of Nottingham). Effective solutions to these problems require broad collaborations among nations, international seafood companies, nonprofit organizations, and universities.

Students will have the opportunity to explore one of the following two topics: The supply chain and port resilience. The Supply Chain Risk Tool (SCRT), co-led by FishWise, encompasses the development of a tool to enable companies to identify and address risk of IUU fishing activities in supply chains. The role of the students will be to design a user research plan, which could help to identify users, needs, and processes that the SCRT could support. A Port Resilience Framework to Address Forced Labor, co-led by colleagues from the Rights Lab at University of Nottingham, will be an effort to apply a resilience framework to address modern forms of slavery in port communities. Students will be able to apply resilience concepts to ports by identifying key systemic issues, legislative assets and problems, local institutions, and policies or practices.

The Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions serves as the liaison to both policy clients stated above and will also connect students with partners such as large seafood companies, and human rights and environmental NGOs. Students will produce policy briefs that will contribute to a third installment in a comprehensive public report issued by the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions. The practicum seeks law students as well as graduate and well-qualified undergraduate students in such programs as earth systems, computer science, public policy, business, sociology, and marine biology.

Course Catalog

Consent of Instructor – Application Portal



Clients & Deliverables

ClientStanford Center for Ocean Solutions; Fish Wise; and Rights Lab
Deliverables: policy memos; public report; client briefings