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Marine justice is presented as a bridging concept and opportunity for scholars, activists, and policy-makers to combine differing methods of knowledge production and communication to promote and deepen justice in an era of global environmental change, sea level rise, overfishing, ocean acidification, and other coastal and marine issues. We open with an exploration of the historical connections between the study of seascapes and the emergence and development of environmental justice. We then discuss five conceptual domains—space, time, knowledge, participation in decision-making, and enforcement—in which attention to marine environments resonates with and expands environmental justice framings. Using a series of examples to illustrate how environmental justice and marine issues converge in scholarship and activism, we argue that this coming-together of concepts creates new avenues for research and inquiry.
What is marine justice?
Jennifer A. Martin
&Summer Gray
&Eréndira Aceves-Bueno
&Peter Alagona
&Tammy L. Elwell
Angela Garcia
&Zach Horton
&David Lopez-Carr
&Jessica Marter-Kenyon
&Karly Marie Miller
Christopher Severen
&Teresa Shewry
&Becky Twohey
Published online: 3 April 2019
#AESS 2019
Marine justice is presented as a bridging concept and opportunity for scholars, activists, and policy-makers to combine differing
methods of knowledge production and communication to promote and deepen justice in an era of global environmental change,
sea level rise, overfishing, ocean acidification, and other coastal and marine issues. We open with an exploration of the historical
connections between the study of seascapes and the emergence and development of environmental justice. We then discuss five
conceptual domainsspace, time, knowledge, participation in decision-making, and enforcementin which attention to marine
environments resonates with and expands environmental justice framings. Using a series of examples to illustrate how environ-
mental justice and marine issues converge in scholarship and activism, we argue that this coming-together of concepts creates
new avenues for research and inquiry.
Keywords Climate .Environmental justice .Fishing .Oceans .Pollution .Marine environments
This essay connects two key multi-disciplinary themesthe
study of marine environments and the study of environmental
justicein order to name an ongoing conversation that has
been building in the environmental and ocean-related litera-
tures. Since the 1980s, environmental justice and marine stud-
ies emerged independently as important foci of scholarship,
activism, and policy. Both historically center around issues of
pollution, the uneven distribution ofcosts and benefits, power,
knowledge production, and representation, but with different
starting points. Environmental justice emerged in response to
toxic exposure as it relates to histories and practices of racial
and economic injustice. Marine studies originated in relation
to concerns over equity and the undemocratic decision-
making processes that relate to resource overharvesting and
other factors that alterand in many cases degradeocean
ecosystems once considered inexhaustible. More recently,
these two bodies of scholarship have increasingly come into
contact as a result of a growing awareness of the impacts of
peoples changing relationships with oceans over time.
To bridge these literatures, this paper highlights the concept
of marine justice, a term that has only recently made its way into
the scholarly literature (Widener 2018; Longo and Clark 2016),
and offers a discussion of some of the major thematic areas that
emerged from a multi-disciplinary discussion that took place
*Jennifer A. Martin
Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara,
Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University,
Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University
of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara,
Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
Center for Evolution and Medicine, Arizona State University,
Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Department of English, University of Pittsburgh,
Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education &
Communication, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia PA,
Philadelphia 19106, USA
Department of English, University of California, Santa Barbara,
Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
The Coral Reef Alliance, Oakland, CA 94612, USA
Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (2019) 9:234243
over the course of a year-long Mellon-Sawyer seminar focused
on the topic of sea change at the University of California, Santa
Barbara between 2013 and 2014. The Mellon-Sawyer Seminar
program supports interdisciplinary and comparative research
that brings together faculty, visiting scholars, postdoctoral fel-
lows, and graduate students from the humanities, social sci-
ences, and related fields. As collaborators, we represent a vari-
ety of fields, including anthropology, ecology, economics, ge-
ography, history, law, literature, media studies, marine sciences,
and sociology. Because research on the oceans was so often a
multidisciplinary endeavor, a central goal of the seminar was the
identification of opportunities for integrating diverse thinking
about marine environments and the human cultures that depend
upon the sea for their survival (Estrada 2012). Together, we
posed the question BWhat is Marine Justice?^and worked
through the disciplinary tensions, possibilities, and conceptual
frameworks that this concept helps to inspire.
Our findings are presented in three parts: We begin by
explaining the historical connection between the emergence
and development of environmental justice concepts and the in-
creasing attention in marine studies to issues of equity. We then
use a series of examples to show the ways in which these two
literatures converge in scholarship and activism, highlighting
how Earths seascapes are fundamentally linked to questions
of environmental justice. In the final section of the paper, we
present the concept of marine justice and discuss five conceptual
domainsspace, time, knowledge, participation in decision-
making, and enforcementin which marine spaces come into
contact with and expand traditional environmental justice fram-
ings. These conceptual domains are not intended to be compre-
hensive, but are offered as starting points. We conclude with a
reflection on the importance of bringing scholars, activists, and
policy-makers together to combine differing methods of knowl-
edge production and communication to promote and deepen
justice in an era of global environmental change.
Environmental justice
The term Benvironmental justice^originated in the early
1980s, when scholars and activistsmostly in the United
States South and Midwestset out to understand and amelio-
rate the negative health effects experienced by poor people
and people of color as a result of their disproportionate expo-
sure to industrial, agricultural, and urban pollution (Pollack
and Grozuczak 1984; Urban Environmental Conference
1985; Gottlieb 1993; McGurty 1997,2007; United Church
of Christ and Commission for Racial Justice 1987). By the
late 1980s and early 1990s, scholars in international environ-
mental law had started a similar debate about the global com-
mons beyond state jurisdiction under the key term of Binter-
generational justice^(Brown Weiss 1989,1990;DAmato
1990). In 1991, the attendees of the First National People of
Color Environmental Leadership Summit authored their land-
mark BPrinciples of Environmental Justice,^which laid out a
17-point agenda for the growing environmental justice grass-
roots movement (Lee 1992). Three years later, the movement
acquired policy visibility when President Bill Clinton issued
Executive Order 12898 that required all federal agencies to
consider environmental justice concerns in all government
policy making (Mohai et al. 2009).
Environmental justice soon acquired several meanings. It
was a set of methodological tools that included ethnography,
spatial statistics, epidemiology, and citizen science (Taylor
2000; Mohai et al. 2009); it was a body of scholarly literature
composed mainly of place-based case studies (Bullard 1990;
Roberts and Toffolon-Weiss 2001); and it was a social move-
ment that aimed to improve the lives of ordinary people living
in risky or unhealthy environments (Faber 1998;Freudenberg
and Steinsapir 1992;Brulle2000). In all three of these areas,
there are concerns over procedural justice, which involves the
processes by which collective decisions are made, and distrib-
utive justice, which focuses on the allocation of benefits and
burdens in a society, and, more recently, justice as recognition,
which tracks the devaluation of some social groups through
everyday and institutional interactions and unequal enforce-
ment (Schlosberg 2007; Walker 2012).
By the early 1990s, scholars and activists far beyond the
USA had begun using the term to call attention not only to
local pollution and health problems, but also to a much
broader set of struggles against colonialism, dispossession,
modernization, neoliberalism, and globalization (Hallowes
1993; Friends of the Earth Scotland 1999;Adeola2000;
Nixon 2011; Steady 2009;Walker2009,2012,1
Westra and Lawson 2001; World Commission on
Environment and Development 1987). During the 2000s, en-
vironmental justice discourse expanded again, this time to
include climate justice (Roberts and Parks 2007;Dawson
2010;Cipletetal.2015;Harlanetal.2015). Although diverse
in their perspectives and goals, climate justice activists in gen-
eral argue that policies to address global climate change
should seek to protect the worlds most vulnerable people,
and that the costs of addressing climate change should be
fairly distributed based on culpability, impacts, ability to
pay, and other considerations (McKee 2012; Nixon 2011).
Despite the growth and diversification of environmental
justice scholarship, several key challenges have remained con-
sistent throughout its history (Pellow and Brulle 2005;Mohai
et al. 2009;Pellow2018). The first is a methodological ques-
tion about appropriate standards of evidence, including
distinguishing correlation from causation and intention from
negligence in claims of environmental injustice (Hamilton
1995; Banzhaf 2012). Some environmental justice scholars
continue to express concerns about the difficulty of scaling-
up from local case studies to broader theories of power and
politics (Benford 2005; Getches and Pellow 2002). And many
J Environ Stud Sci (2019) 9:234243 235
still worry about whether their field is doing enough to ame-
liorate persistent structural impediments, such as the difficulty
of obtaining legislative reform and judicial relief in response
to claims of environmental harm (Cole and Foster 2000;Sikor
and Newell 2014). Most recently, environmental justice schol-
ar David Pellow has suggested the need to extend environ-
mental justice to Critical Environmental Justice (CEJ) as an
interdisciplinary and multi-methodological framework that al-
lows for deepening environmental justices reach across spe-
cies and space (Pellow 2018).
Marine studies
In terms of their materiality, seascapes are incredibly complex
places. The worlds oceans are dynamic ecosystems charac-
terized by complex biophysical patterns of salinity, tempera-
ture, and water density that drive waves, currents, and tidal
systems thatin turn shaped the biota and habitats from local to
global scale. Efforts to understand the oceans have brought
discrete and sometimes competing disciplinary approaches to
marine studies that vary across chronological and national
contexts, using terms as different as Bthalassography, hydrog-
raphy, or oceanography^over the last 200 years (Anderson
and Rozwadowski 2016, 2). Of course, the study of the oceans
reaches much further back, in the Pacific Islands, for example,
for many thousands of years into the past (Salesa 2014;
DArcy 2008). Scholars in the humanities and social sciences
have long studied the oceans as important symbols; in the
classical antiquity of Rome and Greece, Oceanus was a figure
of great importance, appearing in the work of the poet Homer.
The question of equity in marine studies has a more recent
history. The term Bequity^emerged in the scholarly literature
in the early 1980s among political scientists and economists
(Young 1982; Hannesson 1985). Ecologists and other biolo-
gists have started to incorporate the concept more recently to
improve conservation planning, especially for fisheries
(Loomis and Ditton 1993; Halpern et al. 2013).
The impacts of fish harvesting date back hundreds of years
in some regions (Bolster 2012; Erlandson and Rick 2010;
Roberts 2013; Steinberg 2001). Before contact with
Europeans, indigenous peoples throughout the world
established elaborate systems governing the use of marine
spaces and resources, including mechanisms for resolving dis-
putes (Salesa 2014;DArcy 2008). Colonialism in the eigh-
teenth and nineteenth centuries disrupted many of these tradi-
tional systems by ushering in new customs, laws, and bureau-
cratic structures (Walker 2012; Wadewitz 2012). International
efforts to regulate marine commerce, navigation, mineral
rights, and crimes on the high seas over the twentieth century
culminated in the United Nations Conventions on the Law of
the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1958, 1960, 1973, and 1982. Although
the latest UNCLOS went into effect in 1994, its results were
often unequal and uneven among its 168 signatory parties (as
of 2018), as well as among non-party nations, including the
USA (Okereke and Charlesworth 2014).
Since World War II, overfishing has emerged as a central
problem for research and policy, as the capitalization, indus-
trialization, and globalization of fisheries have pushed many
stocks to the brink and threatened the human communities that
depend on them (Jackson 2010; Jackson et al. 2001). This has
presented numerous challenges related to managing coastal
and ocean areas, including the distributional effects of fisher-
ies policies (Loomis and Ditton 1993;GraingerandCostello
2016). The details are unique to each case, but the pattern is
familiar. In region after region, various parties have blamed
each other for the decline, while decision-makers have faced
intense political pressure to recover stocks without restricting
access (McEvoy 1986;Bolster2012; Hubbard 2014).
Enforcement is also a problem in many fisheries, exacerbating
management challenges and increasing the likelihood of so-
cial conflict (Wadewitz 2012; Roberts 2013). Although these
episodes usually have been treated as political stories, many
also involve legal and ethical claims involving both distribu-
tive and procedural justice (Finley 2011).
An increasingly important tool for managing fisheries is
ocean zoning. Indigenous communities and other local peo-
ples have long apportioned coastal and ocean space for partic-
ular groups or specific uses. Many of these arrangements
broke down during periods of colonization. By the mid-
twentieth century, they were replaced in many regions by
management programs that aimed to maintain what they
called Bmaximum sustainable yields^by regulating the
amount of resources harvested rather than by apportioning
space. Proposals for marine protected areas reemerged at the
1962 World Congress on National Parks, then accelerated in
the 1980s and 1990s (Gubbay 1995; McArdle et al. 2003).
Early results are promising, but researchers are still evaluating
the effectiveness of these types of ocean zoning strategies to
restore degraded resource stocks and establish fairer and more
sustainable approaches toresource management (Allison et al.
2012; Frazão Santos et al. 2014;Gustavssonetal.2014;
Kahmann et al. 2015; Kidd and Shaw 2014; Levine et al.
2015; Sinclair 1990; Wise 2014). What is clear is that dividing
up ocean space rearranges peoples relationships with marine
resources in ways that could have important consequences for
environmental justice.
Land use in coastal zones also profoundly shapes peoples
relationships with the sea. Rampant seaside construction, for
example, has resulted in severe impacts to coastal and near-
shore marine ecosystems and diminished public access to
shorelines, particularly among poor local residents squeezed
out by development (Kahrl 2015). There are many such cases,
but the global decline of mangrove forests offers one of the
most gripping examples. Mangrove forests are among the
worlds most productive ecosystems and serve as nurseries
236 J Environ Stud Sci (2019) 9:234243
for diverse fish and wildlife (Polidoro et al. 2010). Their
destructiondue to aquaculture, real estate development,
and other factorshas ignited a global movement spanning
from Latin America to Southeast Asia to Africa. In the words
of one Ecuadorian activist, the effort to save these coastal
forests is Bla lucha justa^: the just fight (Warne 2011,65).
Convergences between environmental justice
and marine studies
As scholars from varied disciplines, such as political science,
economics, sociology, and marine science, often discuss ma-
rine environments in prescriptive and academic terms, activ-
ists have seized on the tools ofcitizen science asan expression
of political empowerment. Activist groups spearheaded some
of the first studies of marine-related environmental justice
issues. As early as 1989, for example, the Center for
Environmental & Economic Justice worked to document
and combat the effects of pollution coming from US military
sites in coastal Mississippi, including the contamination of
fish harvested mainly by African Americans (Morse 2008).
More recently, the Gulf Coast has been the site of research
exploring how racial segregation and infrastructure develop-
ment have relegated African American populations to areas
that are disproportionately vulnerable to flooding, and has
hampered their ability to recover from disasters such as the
1927 Mississippi flood through Hurricane Katrina and beyond
(Hardy et al. 2017;Mizelle2014; Freudenberg et al. 2009;
Elliott and Pais 2006;Morse2008). Since the early 2010s,
activists and academics have developed together new tools
for collaboration, such as the EJAtlas to track a Bproject-based
campaign or place-based struggle,^including the Gulf of
Mexicos Deepwater Horizon spill (Martinez-Alier et al.
The convergence is more than a local story; however, it
also occurs simultaneously on a global scale. US policies
and markets have played important roles in shaping global
ocean environments for more than a century, but environmen-
tal justice issues related to marine pollution are by no means
limited to the USA. The oceans have served as both a conduit
and repository for the global waste trade across national
boundaries. Philadelphias municipal waste, for example, trav-
eled around the world for nearly 2 years on the vessel, Khian
Sea, illegally dumping toxic materials on a Haitian beach and
in the Indian Ocean (Pellow 2007). Although the 1989 Basel
Convention was adopted to stop the transnational movement
and disposal of toxics, especially from the global North to the
global South, the oceans became a receptacle for many kinds
of pollution and waste. During the Cold War, nuclear technol-
ogies not onlyshaped oceanographic research and internation-
al relations, but also affected many local communities in re-
gions such as the South Pacific (Hamblin 2005,2008). People
exposed to weapons testing and manufacturing are still coping
with the aftermath (Dé Ishtar 1994; Teaiwa 1994;Johnston
and Barker 2008). Meanwhile, activists seeking compensation
for the risks and losses imposed on them during the Cold War
face the challenge of organizing a movement among far-flung
communities living under diverse political regimes and deal-
ing with time-scales of exposure that span many generations
(Tate and Hull 1964;Kuletzetal.2002; Chappell 2005; Firth
2005; Maclellan 2005;Tetiarahi2005).
The concept of scale matters critically in both literatures,
because the oceans dynamic biophysical processes enable the
movement of toxic, anthropogenic substances away from their
point of origin. Consider the iconic marine-pollution case sur-
rounding Minamata disease. Named for the Japanese seaside
community where it was first identified, Minamata disease
appeared in the 1950s, when house cats in the area began
behaving bizarrely and dying from what was later shown to
be a neurological disorder caused by mercury poisoning.
Local residents, who also soon began suffering from the syn-
drome, attributed their symptoms to the accumulation of in-
dustrial pollution in local fish and shellfish. The owners of the
chemical factory responsible for the mercury emissions spent
considerable resources denying the links between human
health and marine toxins, and it took years for researchers to
determine the causes (Ekino et al. 2007;Walker 2010). This
case is often either used to illustrate problem solving in envi-
ronmental toxicology courses or framed by social theorists as
a hidden cost of Japanese industrialization (Almeida and
Stearns 1998). The Minimata case rarely has been understood
as a tale of environmental injustice or even a marine issue. It is
clear, however, that the politically marginalized local residents
of Minimata experienced disproportionate harms due to their
reliance on local ocean resources (Japan. Kankyōshō.Sōgō
KankyōSeisakukyoku 2013).
While the complex biophysical processes that facilitate
movement are critical to the convergence of environmental
justice and marine studies, just as important is the human
value of staying in place. This dilemma plays out in complex
ways when we consider the problem of climate change and
coastal development. In lesser-developed countries, the
poorest people in a societythose who contributed least to
climate change-induced extreme weather eventsare often
the most exposed to coastal storms, fires, and flooding.
Entire low-lying cities and countries, such as the Maldives
and Marshall Islands, are threatened by human-induced sea-
level rises to which they contributed very little (McKibben
1989; Pilkey and Young 2011). In more developed countries,
however, the opposite is often the case: the wealthiest mem-
bers of the society often have the most assets exposed to loss
or damage in coastal zones (Nicholls et al. 2008;Steinberg
2014). However, just because it is the wealthy who are the
most immediately at risk does not mean that there will be an
absence of environmental justice issues. For example, when a
J Environ Stud Sci (2019) 9:234243 237
debris flow hit the wealthy coastal community of Montecito in
southern California in 2018, immigrant families employed in
service jobs were disproportionately impacted in terms of loss
of life and income, many of whom were forced to leave the
area before aid could be allocated. The climate-related fire that
spurred the debris flow was also hardest felt by farm workers
in Ventura and Oxnard in the neighboring region, who were
exposed to extremely hazardous levels of particulate matter.
Furthermore, coastal armaments and retaining walls built to
protect valuable seaside properties at the wildland-urban in-
terface may increase risk to other nearby sites by altering the
flow of water and sediment. The insurance and infrastructure
costs of protecting such assets are often born only partly by
property owners, with the rest of society also contributing.
And although the popular media often treats climate change
and sea-level rise as a global phenomenon, diverse local fac-
tors will shape risks in particular places, with complex conse-
quences for the people who live in these increasingly vulner-
able communities (Strauss et al. 2012; Farbotko 2010).
Concepts for marine justice
As the above examples suggest, marine spaces and resources
involve a range of complex environmental justice issues. In
fact, oceans are inseparable from any and all core
environmental justice concerns that may originate in
terrestrial or other settings. Many of these issues are not
new, but scholars and marine resource managers only
recently have begun to conceptualize them as justice issues.
For example, environmental sociologist Patricia Widener
(2018) has drawn attention to the possibilities and limitations
of marine justice, building on and expanding the work of
Longo and Clark (2016).
In this section, we expand on the concept of marine justice
and explain why applying key methods, concepts, andinsights
from the environmental justice literature to marine spaces will
not be as simple as merely shifting the thematic focus of such
research from turf to surf.
Until recently, the vast majority of environmental scholarship
has involved local, place-based case studies in terrestrial en-
vironments. The oceans, however, operate on spatial scales so
vast and deep that they do not easily conform to this approach.
Although all studies of human-environment relations must
include both biophysical processes and social practices, the
spatial configuration of marine environments differs so dra-
matically from that of terrestrial environments that they often
require a different sense of scale (Harvey 1996). Ocean spaces
are incredibly expansive and, unlike the atmosphere, are com-
prised of a fluid dense enough to suspend most human and
animal bodies. And yet, almost all of the ocean is inaccessible
to humans, except for the most elaborately supported and
equipped people. As such individuals descend, they encounter
alien environments with immense pressure, few fixed land-
marks, and where light and sound behave differently, altering
their sense of space and requiring different assumptions about
their sensory perceptions (Alaimo 2013). As the geographer
Philip Steinberg observes, the four dimensional nature of the
oceanswhich includes not only time, width, and breadth,
but also depthrenders any human encounter with marine
environments Bdistanced and partial^(Steinberg 2013,156).
Understanding the oceans in this way has at least three key
implications for studies of environmental justice there. First,
although many people live close to the oceans, few havedirect
access to them beyond the near shore and below the surface
(United Nations Environment Program 2012). Second, the
individuals and institutions with the resources to enter to such
spaces have enjoyed more or less open access. The result is
that some people have been able to reap disproportionate ben-
efits from the oceans, while others nearby have benefited little
and have little say in ocean governance. Finally, since the
oceans are a fluid medium, they present challenges to tradi-
tional conceptions of environmental justice. Most place-based
environmental justice case studies rely on a function of prox-
imity to, or position downstream of, the source of the risk.
Pollution originating thousands of miles away, often from
non-point-sources, can negatively affect people who use
coastlines and ocean resources, and those who consume these
resources can experience dangerous exposures even if they
live nowhere close to the emission or extraction sitesor even
the ocean itself (Pilkey and Young 2011). Studying environ-
mental justice issues related to marine environments thus re-
quires a more complex, multifaceted conception of space than
terrestrial, place-based environmental justice scholarship.
For much of human history, many people believed, or at least
acted as if, the oceans were inexhaustible (Roberts 2013). In
an address to the 1883 London International Fisheries
Exhibition, for example, one scientist contended Bin relation
to our present modes of fishing, a number of the most impor-
tant sea fisheries are inexhaustible,^in spite of the contrary
testimony of contemporary fishers, fishery inspectors, ship-
pers, and marketers (Hubbard 2014, 366). People could over-
harvest whale populations, block the pathways of migratory
fish, or pollute estuaries, but these were only temporary local
or regional phenomena. Globally, the oceans were too vast
and too deep for people to fundamentally alter them. Over
the past generation, however, environmental historians and
historical ecologists have revealed a different story: one in
which myriad regional accounts, combined with the broader
238 J Environ Stud Sci (2019) 9:234243
scale climatic changes of the past century, add up to a global
ocean decline (Jackson 2010;Bolster2012).
Beyond these narratives of environmental change, ocean
environments present biophysical challenges to terrestrial con-
ceptions of time. All earth systems include complex feedback
loops and time lags. In the oceans, however, this problem
takes on a particular valence. For example, thermal inertia,
or the slow pace at which seawater rises in temperature as it
absorbs and distributes atmospheric heat, results in a time lag
between yesterdays carbon emissions, todaysincreasing
temperatures, and tomorrows sea level rises. Such lags pres-
ent difficult questions about intergenerational justice, as well
as for people with uneven resources to cope with change,
including capacities to migrate, protect coastlines, define sea
level rise, and shape institutional responses to claims of rights
and redress. Such long-term, large-scale changes, if not ad-
dressed at appropriate scales, invoke what the literary scholar
Rob Nixon has termed Bslow violence^: harm dispersed
across space and time in ways that are difficult to grasp but
can have profound social consequences (Nixon 2011).
It is often said that scientists know more about outer space
than they do about the deep oceans. In fact, people have long
explored, interpreted, and imagined the oceans, developing
rich local cultural and intellectual traditions that continue to
shape their interactions with the sea (Salesa 2014; Te Punga
Somerville 2012;Dening1980,2004). It is true, however, that
marine environments present unique logistical and technical
challengesfor those trying to understand them from a modern,
scientific perspective (Rozwadowski and Van Keuren 2004).
For the oceans, this scientific tradition only really dates
from the mid-nineteenth century. As a result of his work on
the US Exploring Expedition (18381842), for example,
James Dwight Dana developed the first systematic theory
about the geological forces that created the Pacific basin
(Igler 2013). The first successful trans-Atlantic cables were
laid in 1858 and 1866 in depths up to 3 miles and required
more intensive and systematic methods of mapping the sea
floor (Rozwadowski 2005; Starosielski 2015). Commerce,
war, and technologyincluding stable platforms, deep sea
submersibles, underwater cameras, boats, and sonarhave
played central roles in shaping marine science (Deacon
1997; Mills 1989,2009; Reidy and Rozwadowski 2014;
Rozwadowski 2014). And yet, marine research remains
fragmented, with divergent views about such basic questions
as the relationships between science and the state, the contri-
butions of research to resource exploitation, the roles of theo-
retical versus applied work, and the need for social science
and humanities perspectives as well as the importance of tra-
ditional knowledges and meaning cultivated from the oceans
smallest living organisms (Rozwadowski 2005; Hubbard
All of this points to a crucial question: How can scholars,
activists, and policy-makers mobilize such diverse,
fragmented, technical,and expensive knowledge to contribute
to environmental justice? Upstreaming offers a possible solu-
tion. In this view, environmental justice scholars should be
invited into shaping research projects from their
conceptioninstead of as an Boutreach^component or after-
thought, which is too often the case in collaborations between
natural and social scientists. Engaging in this way would result
in new research agendas, and begin to address our gap in
knowledge about what the filmmaker and artist Allan Sekula
called the oceansBForgotten Spaces^(Dawson 2013; Sekula
and Burch 2010). An outstanding example is The Superstorm
Research Lab, which has created an online forum for exchang-
ing knowledge about environmental justice and resilience
research-lab). In the white paper, The Tale of Two Sandys,
scholars from the lab analyze the uneven impacts of the
storm through research into New York Cityspoverty,
housing, employment, infrastructure, and social services,
revealing the unequal levels of access and risks experienced
by residents of this low-lying coastal metropolis (Dawson
2010; Superstorm Research Lab 2013).
Participation in decision-making
One of the central contributions of environmental justice is
its emphasis on the role of fair participation, sometimes
referred to as procedural justice, in environmental deci-
sion-making. The vast, fluid, and dynamic nature of the
oceans, their relatively open access, and the international
character of their governance suggest that marine systems
should pose great challenges for inclusive decision-mak-
ing. Many ocean spaces have a long history of marine
environmental decision-making that includes traditional
community-based systems, colonial bureaucratic authority,
scientific management programs, and stakeholder-based
processes (McEvoy 1986). Today, political processes for
ocean environments often include elements of each.
Various combinations of these approaches have proven
useful for fishery conservation programs and marine spatial
planning. The California Marine Life Protection Act of 1999,
for example, initiated a statewide process that, despite signif-
icant resistance, ultimately led to the establishment of dozens
of marine protected areas. Yet, such approaches seem to have
little potential for addressing global environmental problems,
such as sea-level rise and ocean acidification. Public policies
to confront these issues have often failed to incorporate di-
verse perspectives, and have often sought to protect valuable
coastal assets instead of resource poor communities. Even
some political efforts intended to protect vulnerable people
J Environ Stud Sci (2019) 9:234243 239
or nations (Barnett and Adger 2003) can unintentionally mar-
ginalize already underrepresented voices (Farbotko and
Lazrus 2012). In the extreme case of environmental refugees,
many of which come from coastal regions, the primary objec-
tive is of course protecting lives; much less concern is usually
given to maintaining livelihoods, memories, cultures, and
mental health. With the loss of communitieseven perhaps
the loss of entire vulnerable low-lying nationsit remains
unclear whether there can ever be justice.
Regulatory regimes at sea differ dramatically from those on
land. The high seas are regulated through international, mul-
tilateral treaties, but individual countries maintain claims to
the sovereignty of territorial seas and hold rights to contiguous
zones, exclusive economic zones, and continental shelves.
Beyond these near-shore realms lay the vast open ocean,
whose relatively lax regulatory and enforcement structures
transcend the nation-state (Steinberg 1999,2001). The un-
evenness, complexity, overlapping, and multilayered charac-
ter of ocean regulatory regimes create barriers not only for
effective environmental management, but also for socially
and economically marginalized communities to draw on pub-
lic institutions for assistance.
The historic weakness of ocean governance, compared
with the terrestrial governance imposed by nation-states with-
in their boundaries, has led many observers to describe ocean
spaces as relatively open access (Liu et al. 2007;Ostrom2007;
Ostrom et al. 1999). Among economists, this has often led to
calls for clearer and more enforceable property rights to ma-
rine space and resources, which they believe would contribute
to more rational management of scarce resources. All legal
regimes and property rights arrangements depend on the
ability and willingness of governments to enforce regula-
tions, but this has proven much more difficult in marine
than terrestrial environments. Political borders, which are
essential for regulatory enforcement, are difficult to mark
and enforce in ocean spaces, and both commercial and
artisanal users may easily violate them (Wadewitz 2012).
The borders themselves are also frequently contested, and
different countries establish the legality of traditional
claims to resources in very different ways (Carey 2010;
McEvoy 1986). New claims may challenge older legal
structures, and many indigenous communities are seeking
to revive even older customary arrangements. This is par-
ticularly evident in remote coastal and island communities,
where regulations governing marine resources are often
imposed by far-away legislative bodies or bureaucratic
agencies descended from colonial governments or
representing newer postcolonial authoritarian power struc-
tures (Shewry 2015;Warne2011).
Concluding reflections
We conclude this framework with a call to work together to
use marine justice as a guiding principal to enrich our schol-
arship and address some of the most daunting environmental
challenges we face today as citizens of the world. We believe
that building community within and beyond the academy as
well as the core intellectual values of engagement and humil-
ity is worth defending now more than ever. Based on our
experiences at the University of California, that begins strate-
gically with sitting in a room together and a commitment to
meet on a regular basis with invited guests. One of the most
important insights we learned from eachother was the difficult
but rewarding opportunity to reflect on the research we do.
The oceanscomplexity and the many ways to study them
became a recurring theme as we discussed what some of us
called evidence and others used the term data or sources. We
learned that it is easier to issue calls for interdisciplinary or
transdisciplinary collaboration about the oceans than the hard
work of actually doing so. The concepts of space, time,
knowledge, participation in decision-making, and enforce-
ment started to emerge as critical links that brought together
ongoing conversations about the oceans and justice in the
academy and the rest of the world.
The five key concepts operated as links but they also
showed us the fissures and different assumptions within the
disciplines of our group members. Here, we must acknowl-
edge the very real challenges of marine justice scholarship and
activism. Through a self-reflexive process, we learned that
while we all cared about marine issues in scholarship and
activism, we sometimes stumbled when it came to talking to
each other. For example, we had one presenter who studied
some of the local indigenous groupstendency to overharvest
particular marine organisms over hundreds of years with the
result of a simplification and impoverishment of local marine
ecosystems, but was unable to capture much social differenti-
ation within this community over many generations of human
life spans. What counted as marine justice in this instance was
instructive if frustrating at the time. We struggled over the
assumptions about the hierarchies of disciplines and their
methods of quantitative, qualitative, and interpretive ap-
proaches. The differences and often-unspoken aversions to
certain methodologies may have originated in personal expe-
rience and disciplinary training/acculturation, but were stub-
bornly resistant to being let go of in the present moment.
Through trial and error, we discovered some ways to work
through the challenges of bridging scholarship around marine
justice together. After many weeks, one participant posed a
trenchant question about representation, especially about in-
digenous peoples in the various Pacific worlds, whose voices
we had thus far neglected. BWho should be in the room? Who
is missing?^another participant elaborated. BWhose voice
needs to be heard here?^We suggest a process of similar
240 J Environ Stud Sci (2019) 9:234243
self-reflexivity among scholars and activists who are commit-
ted to marine justicea grounding activity not only about
core values and methods but an acknowledgement of our po-
sitions of privilege.
Writing this article was another way to work through the
challenges of marine justice. We had to meet frequently and
intensely, but we tried to balance this engagement with a
change of scenery. We took a trip to Santa Cruz Island in the
Channel Island National Marine Sanctuary. We ate fish and
other foods from the sea. We socialized. We brought decision
makers to the table. But ultimately we spent time together
meditating on our key questions over terms, methods, argu-
mentation,and what those thingsactually did out in the world.
It was these conversations and investigations into the real-
word applicationsanswering what was actually at stake with
marine justicethat sustained us. We believe that this experi-
ence is worth sharing with the larger community of scholars
and activists as well as those in decision-making and enforce-
ment. We are living through a moment of profound alienation
from each other, the ocean, and nature more generally. The
threats and crimes are manifold: death of coral reefs, loss of
access to food, drowning of vulnerable communities to sea-
level rise, and silencing of voices from around the worlds
oceans. The oceans shape us in so many ways just as we shape
the oceans through industrialization, transportation, science,
recreation, oxygen, resource harvesting, heritage, and es-
thetics. The oceans are worth defending. If we ignore marine
justice, we risk losing something sacred as well. We believe
that marine justice is not only an intellectual position worth
defending but also one worth celebrating.
Acknowledgments The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sawyer
Seminar, The Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research
and The Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at the University of
California, Santa Barbara, David Pellow, and all of our seminar visitors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Disclaimer The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the
authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Federal Reserve
Bank of Philadelphia orthe Federal Reserve System. Any errors oromis-
sions are the responsibility of the authors.
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... Equity and justice considerations have risen to the surface in policy deliberations, management decisions, and program design related to marine conservation, fisheries management, and blue economy development. These topics have been brought to the forefront by academic documentation of social justice and distributional issues across these different marine policy realms (Kittinger et al., 2017;Cohen et al., 2019;Martin et al., 2019;Armstrong, 2020;Bennett et al., 2021a) and coinciding civil society efforts to raise the profile of the social injustices facing small-scale fishers, coastal communities, different genders, and diverse racial and ethnic groups (Isaacs, 2019;Johnson, 2020;Gustavsson et al., 2021). Academic and civil society groups and individuals have coined a number of catch phrases to refer to the relationship between equity, justice, and the oceans -including blue justice, marine justice, ocean justice and ocean equity (Martin et al., 2019;Armstrong, 2020;Österblom et al., 2020;Bennett et al., 2021a). ...
... These topics have been brought to the forefront by academic documentation of social justice and distributional issues across these different marine policy realms (Kittinger et al., 2017;Cohen et al., 2019;Martin et al., 2019;Armstrong, 2020;Bennett et al., 2021a) and coinciding civil society efforts to raise the profile of the social injustices facing small-scale fishers, coastal communities, different genders, and diverse racial and ethnic groups (Isaacs, 2019;Johnson, 2020;Gustavsson et al., 2021). Academic and civil society groups and individuals have coined a number of catch phrases to refer to the relationship between equity, justice, and the oceans -including blue justice, marine justice, ocean justice and ocean equity (Martin et al., 2019;Armstrong, 2020;Österblom et al., 2020;Bennett et al., 2021a). Small-scale fisheries organizations, for example, coined the now popular term 'blue justice' to refer to the effects of blue growth and industrial fisheries on the rights, resources and livelihoods of small-scale fishers and coastal communities (Cohen et al., 2019;Isaacs, 2019;Bennett et al., 2021a;Jentoft et al., 2022). ...
... Small-scale fisheries organizations, for example, coined the now popular term 'blue justice' to refer to the effects of blue growth and industrial fisheries on the rights, resources and livelihoods of small-scale fishers and coastal communities (Cohen et al., 2019;Isaacs, 2019;Bennett et al., 2021a;Jentoft et al., 2022). Scholars also recently proposed 'marine justice' as an academic concept, a paradigm, and a movement that merges concerns for the marine environment and environmental justice (Widener, 2018;Martin et al., 2019). The idea of 'ocean equity' emerged in a 2020 report of the High Level Panel on the Sustainable Ocean Economy titled 'Towards Ocean Equity' that highlighted the need for the burgeoning ocean economy to be inclusive and account for equity in the distribution of benefits (Bennett et al., 2019b;Österblom et al., 2020). ...
... In contrast to climate justice, the concept of marine justice is rather recent and seeks to link up the vast interdisciplinary scholarship of marine studies with environmental justice scholars and activists (Martin et al., 2019;Widener, 2018). The idea that a justice lens and, in particular, interand transdisciplinary justice research help to unravel, identify, and address multiple, often layered, inequities and injustices in coupled socio-ecological relationships is pervasive and also key to the more recent and critical ocean sustainability science (Bennett, 2018;Armstrong, 2020;Saunders et al., 2020). ...
... Oceans and coastal regions are increasingly threatened, destroyed, or degraded by human behaviour such as overfishing, marine pollution, coastal erosion, and the unsustainable extraction of marine resources, as well as by anthropogenic climate change and its impacts on ocean temperature increase, sea-level rise, acidification, and ocean deoxygenation (IPCC, 2013(IPCC, , 2018UN, 2017a). As Martin et al. (2019) point out, since the 1980s, environmental justice and marine studies have developed separately and formed their own independent and crucial strands at the crossroads of social movements, policy, and academic research. Both strands historically revolve around issues such as pollution, power relations, participation, knowledge production, and the unevenly distributed benefits and burdens, yet with different points of departure (Martin et al., 2019). ...
... As Martin et al. (2019) point out, since the 1980s, environmental justice and marine studies have developed separately and formed their own independent and crucial strands at the crossroads of social movements, policy, and academic research. Both strands historically revolve around issues such as pollution, power relations, participation, knowledge production, and the unevenly distributed benefits and burdens, yet with different points of departure (Martin et al., 2019). Environmental justice originated, as sketched above, from the reactions of residents in African American, Native American, and Hispanic communities, who were the most adversely affected by the economic and ecological degradation. ...
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This special issue (SI) shows that environmental justice perspectives are especially useful for analysing current socio-ecological conflicts. These perspectives help to bridge epistemological and ontological gaps in inter- and transdisciplinary settings and promote normative and justice-oriented discussions on environmental struggles within and beyond the academy. Currently, the following two interrelated environmental crises and their impacts regularly make headlines: climate change and the impacts of the unsustainable use of the oceans. Still, for a large part of the global population – not only but especially in the Global North – both crises remain abstract, mainly becoming visible through news coverage of plastic waste in the oceans, storm surges and droughts, and through documentaries on sea-level rise and the destruction of ecosystems. However, the destruction of marine and coastal habitats and the effects of climate change are increasingly affecting people's daily lives. The effects of climate change, pollution, and marine resource overuse are creating serious disruption to livelihoods and leading to new socio-ecological conflicts and new claims. This SI aims to reflect and explore climate and marine narratives, environmental knowledge claims, multiple ontologies, climate change adaptation, and the spatial and temporal shaping of socio-ecological struggles for climate and marine justice in more detail. Furthermore, it takes up current strands of climate and marine justice scholarship and explores avenues for further research.
... al evidence that has documented environmental injustices related to land, air and freshwater (Agyeman et al., 2016;Boyd, 2022;Brulle & Pellow, 2006;Cutter, 2012;Walker, 2012). Much less attention, however, has been paid to environmental justice issues in the marine and coastal environment (N. J. Bennett et al., 2021;Bercht et al., 2021;Ertör, 2021;J. A. Martin et al., 2019). Yet, demands for marine resources have rapidly accelerated as have anthropogenic pressures on the ocean (Halpern et al., 2008(Halpern et al., , 2019Jouffray et al., 2020;Nash et al., 2017). Numerous environmental hazards and harms -including chemical and biological pollution, plastics, climate change, habitat modification, ecosystem s ...
... Accordingly, I will first discuss the context of the broader political-economic context leading to inequalities and injustices faced by fisher folks, followed by a review of the existing literature on marine and blue justice (and marine sociology). Additionally, this article will propose the framework of 'Blue Justice' as a new thematic and conceptual area in the environmental justice debates and movements (for a detailed discussion of the environmental justice literature, see Agyeman et al. (2016), and for its application in marine issues, see Martin et al. 2019). Second, I will show that these socio-environmental conflicts (also called ecological distribution conflicts by Martinez-Alier et al. 2010;Scheidel et al. 2018Scheidel et al. , 2020 are a result of both increasing (marine) social metabolism and escalating attempts of grabbing marine resources for further capital accumulation. ...
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Fisher people and their communities around the world have been key social actors in seafood production and they are still feeding the world with about two-thirds of the catches destined for direct human consumption. However, they are subjected to a wide range of injustices due to coastal and offshore investment projects and the inequalities embedded in the global capitalist marine economy. These injustices are manifested through socio-environmental conflicts, which have been studied and mapped in the Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas) together with other social actors’ resistances. This article examines 120 fisher folk conflicts that have been identified, documented and mapped in the EJAtlas, while proposing a Blue Justice framework to understand their underlying causes and how fisher people confront such injustices. As a grounded theoretical approach emerging from the scrutiny of fisher resistances and building on environmental justice, critical marine sociology and political economy literatures, the Blue Justice framework proposed here focuses on three dimensions: (i) material and biophysical dimension, (ii) spatial justice, and (iii) autonomy and sovereignty. In adopting this framework, this analysis reveals the blue layers of environmental justice by uncovering both the causes of conflicts faced by fisher communities and their political agency.
... Justice in the oceans has become a central topic over the past decade, and different approaches have been addressed for its study (Martin et al., 2019). Marine justice promotes the transition from social conflict to sustainability, raising equity and human needs on the global agenda (Tafon et al., 2021). ...
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In order to navigate toward ocean sustainability, policies, programs, and scientific research must address issues of justice. In fisheries management, justice has generally been understood in terms of the distribution of social, cultural, and economic benefits. However, there are also important procedural justice challenges in the fisheries system, which are fundamental to the long-term sustainability and equity of the oceans. Procedural justice is related to the conditions under which the negotiation for benefit distribution takes place. That is, the procedures, structures, and processes that lead to the distribution of resources. In this study, we empirically assess fishers’ perceptions of procedural justice components within a small-scale fishery management policy in Chile which has been shifting toward a polycentric type of governance during the past 7 years. We specifically assess perceptions of management committee members. Management committees have been constituted as spaces of collective action for participatory decision-making. We decompose procedural justice in seven subcomponents and assess perceptions associated to achievement in the administration of fisheries. Our results show that management committee members perceive heterogeneity in the achievement of different procedural justice components, which is a central element in achieving equitable development in the oceans. The highest perceptions of achievement were found in the procedures for the selection of participants, the use of various types of technical and local knowledge for decision-making, and the perception by participants of ethical and impartial procedures. We also identified significant challenges related to an inflexible legal structure that hinders adaptive management and learning as a tool for institutional transformation. In addition, mechanisms for communicating decisions to users and clear accountability procedures were perceived as weak. It is critical to address these gaps as they can jeopardize the implementation and legitimacy of fisheries management. Focusing on different components of procedural justice can provide an important lens through which advances and gaps in fisheries policy can be identified and worked upon.
... Finally, while the need for ocean literacy and ocean optimism is becoming increasingly recognized, it remains important that these approaches respond to multiple knowledge systems and socio-economic inequities and oppression. Blue justice (Bennett et al., 2020), ocean equity (Österblom et al., 2020), marine justice (Martin et al., 2019), and ocean justice (Gardiner, 2020) must inform both ocean literacy and ocean optimism. For instance, responses by settler fishing communities (largely male), Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the RCMP to the Sipekne'katik First Nation's lobster fishery on the 21-year anniversary of the Marshall Decision (APTN News, 2019; Denny, 2020) highlights how this crisis is part of a shared history that requires both re-imagining and decolonizing what "we are all ocean people" (OWHFX, 2020) means. ...
In this article, we consider the role of ocean literacy in coastal communities as an approach that fosters relevant, community-based learning. We also propose solutions to challenges facing human-ocean relationships by cultivating common understanding and collective action. We present four examples of community-based ocean literacy in Mi'kma'ki/Atlantic Canada demonstrate how intersectional approaches to ocean literacy that are context-specific and responsive to community priorities can foster healthier human-ocean relationships: (1) Oceans Week Halifax's organization of community events to strengthen human-ocean relationships; (2) the Apoqnmatulti'k (Mi'kmaw: we help each other) project's partnerships between Mi'kmaq and local knowledge holders and academia; (3) Fishing For Success's (Newfoundland and Labrador) inclusive approaches to connecting marginalized communities to the ocean; and (4) the Co-Existing With North Atlantic Right Whale Project's protection of whales without jeopardizing coastal community livelihoods. Without denying there are barriers to bridging community learning with formal education, we focus on opportunities for collaborations and the importance of ocean optimism in guiding these urgently needed efforts to benefit future community-based, ocean-focused, and solutions-orientated initiatives. Résumé Dans le présent article, nous examinons le rôle la connaissance de l'océan dans les communautés côtières comme approche pour favoriser l'apprentissage en milieu communautaire. Nous proposons également des solutions aux difficultés qui entravent la relation entre les humains et l'océan en cultivant la compréhension commune et l'action collective. Nous présentons quatre exemples de programmes communautaires dans la région Mi'kma'ki (Canada atlantique) qui montrent que les approches intersectionnelles de la connaissance de l'océan, lorsqu'elles sont adaptées au contexte ainsi qu'aux priorités des communautés, favorisent des relations saines entre les humains et l'océan. Les exemples sont les suivants : 1) l'organisation, par Oceans Week Halifax [la semaine de l'océan à Halifax], 137 Community-Based Ocean Literacy d'activités communautaires pour renforcer le lien entre les humains et l'océan; 2) les partenariats du projet Apoqnmatulti'k (qui signifie « nous nous entraidons » en mi'kmaw) entre les Mi'kmaq, les experts locaux et le milieu universitaire; 3) les approches inclusives de Fishing For Success (Pêcher pour le succès; Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador) pour connecter les communautés marginalisées à l'océan; 4) la protection des baleines grâce au Co-Existing With North Atlantic Right Whale Project [projet de coexistence avec la baleine noire de l'Atlantique Nord] sans mettre en péril les moyens de subsistance des collectivités côtières. Nous savons qu'il n'est pas simple de jeter des ponts entre l'apprentissage communautaire et l'éducation en milieu scolaire, mais nous nous concentrons plutôt sur les possibilités de collaboration et sur l'importance de rester optimistes dans les actions de protection de l'océan pour guider les efforts urgents à faire, afin que les futures initiatives communautaires de recherche de solutions pour l'océan en profitent.
... It is widely recognized that SDG14 (conserve and sustainably use the oceans) is not simply about expanding MPA, but about how this contributes to human well-being, particularly to the people who most depend on marine resources for their livelihoods. MPA governance in the context of marine justice (Martin et al. 2019) urges states and conservation managers to address and answer the following questions: ...
Provisioning ecosystem services play an important role in the development of regional economies. Traditional managements usually intensify the supply of provisioning services, without consideration of other services (e.g. cultural and supporting) and biodiversity. The objective of this chapter was to characterize main provisioning ecosystem services and potential biodiversity in different terrestrial ecosystems (native forests, shrublands and grasslands) of Santa Cruz Province (Southern Patagonia, Argentina) and to identify potential trade-off areas between provisioning ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation values. We found that non-forested areas exhibited higher supply of provisioning ecosystem services and biodiversity values than forested areas, where potential trade-off areas were located in humid steppes and shrublands. Particularly, in Nothofagus forests landscape, provisioning ecosystem services and biodiversity increased with forest cover, where N. antarctica forests type showed more potential trade-off areas than other Nothofagus forests type, while new potential protected areas were located when different forest types were combined (N. antarctica and N. pumilio). These results can be used by decision-makers to improve management and conservation strategies on private lands.
Gains in biodiversity from marine conservation might not correlate with a fair distribution of benefits across different social actors. In this chapter, we analyze the case of the marine protected area of multiple uses (MPA-MU) Seno Almirantazgo in the Magallanes region, created by the Chilean Government in 2018. We apply the ecosystem services (ES) lens to analyze perceived distributional effects of the implementation of the MPA-MU. Social actors’ perceptions revealed three main scenarios: (i) the MPA-MU will generate benefits derived from the enhancement of specific ES; (ii) those benefits will not be distributed equally across social actors, where perception identified fishers as the potential “losers” and tour operators as the main “winners”; and (iii) changes in ocean access rights are perceived as the main barrier preventing an equitable distribution of monetary and non-monetary benefits. These perceptions are linked to three different dimensions of environmental justice (distribution, procedure, recognition), which are largely omitted in the conservation planning and particularly in Chile. The ES lens can be a useful tool to implement actions that include these dimensions in early stages of marine protected areas planning. However, such inclusion requires a large transformation of the institutional settings that nowadays influence marine conservation rules in the Chilean Patagonia.
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We develop and apply a systematic review methodology to identify and understand how the peer-reviewed literature characterises Indigenous peoples’ involvement in marine governance and management approaches in terms of equity and justice worldwide. We reviewed the peer-reviewed English-language research articles between January 2015 and September 2020 for examples of Indigenous peoples’ involvement in marine governance and management using the analytical lens of environmental justice. The majority of research studies highlighted that Indigenous peoples experienced some form of environmental injustice linked to existing marine governance and management, most notably in the context of inequitable decision-making procedures surrounding the establishment and operation of marine protected areas. However, there are significant gaps in the current literature, including a notable absence of studies exploring Indigenous women and other gender minorities’ involvement in marine planning and management and the limited number of studies about Indigenous peoples living throughout Asia, the Arctic, Russia, and Africa. More studies are needed to explore collaborative and intersectional approaches, including co-governance and co-management and ecosystem-based management, and critically evaluate what constitutes inclusive, equitable, and just marine governance and management processes, practices, and outcomes for different Indigenous peoples occupying diverse social–ecological systems.