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David VanderZwaag

Professor of Law; Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Ocean Law and Governance; Primary Researcher; Associate, Marine & Environmental Law Institute


Related information

Schulich School of Law , Marine & Environmental Law Institute , Marine Affairs Program

Email: david.vanderzwaag@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-1045
Mailing Address: 
Room 415, Weldon Law Building, 6061 University Avenue
PO Box 15000 Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Environmental law
  • International environmental law
  • Marine law
  • Public law
  • Boundary resource management
  • Law of the sea


  • BA (Calvin)
  • MDiv (Princeton)
  • JD (Arkansas)
  • LLM (Dalhousie)
  • PhD (Wales, Cardiff)

Bar admissions

  • Nova Scotia


  • International Environmental Law (LAWS 2051)
  • Visiting Professor, International Ocean law and Governance, University of Auckland (2012, 2006), Hue University (2009)
  • Visiting Professor, International Environmental law, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (2001, 2000, 1999), University of Sydney (1997) and Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Law (1993)

Areas of supervision: Ocean Acidification: Future Directions in International Law and Policy (Masters Scholarship may be available), Protection of the Marine Environment, International Fisheries Law, Arctic Ocean Development and Governance

Research interests

Professor VanderZwaag’s research covers a wide range of topics in the field of international ocean law and governance.  Research interests include: aquaculture regulation; fisheries management; marine species at risk, maritime boundary delimitation; transboundary cooperation; Arctic law of the sea; Canada-US ocean relations and principled oceans governance.

Selected awards & honours

  • Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Ocean Law and Governance, Schulich School of Law
  • Member, International Council of Environmental Law
  • Member, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law
  • Canadian Donner Foundation funded project, Comparing Canadian and Russian Approaches/Challenges in Arctic Ocean Governance
  • SSHRC funded project, Tracking & Envisioning the Future for Arctic Ocean Governance
  • International Joint Venture Project Ocean Tracking Network (OTN), Tracking and Protecting Marine Species at Risk
  • Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR), Governance Challenges and Responses to Ocean Acidification

Selected publications

  • D.A. Russell & D.L. VanderZwaag, eds, Recasting Transboundary Fisheries Management Arrangements in Light of Sustainability Principles: Canadian and International Perspectives (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2010).
  • D.R. Rothwell & D.L. VanderZwaag, eds, Towards Principled Oceans Governance: Australian and Canadian Approaches and Challenges (London: Routledge Press, 2006).
  • D.L. VanderZwaag, “The Arctic Council at 15 Years: Edging Forward in a Sea of Governance Challenges” (2011) 54 German Yearbook of International Law 281.
  • D.L. VanderZwaag, “The Precautionary Approach and the International Control of Toxic Chemicals: Beacon of Hope, Sea of Confusion and Dilution” (2011) 33 Hous J Int'l L 655.
  • D.L. VanderZwaag, “The Gulf of Maine Boundary Dispute and Transboundary Management Challenges: Lessons To Be Learned” (2010) 15 Ocean & Coastal LJ 241.  

View a list of additional publications [PDF-195 kB]

Service & activity

  • Advisory Committee (SCARs), Arctic Graduate School (ARKTIS) at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland
  • Editorial Board, Ocean & Coastal Management
  • Editorial Board, Ocean Yearbook (Martinus Nijhoff)
  • Editorial Board, Macquarie Journal of International and Comparative Environmental Law
  • Regional Editor, Canadian Environmental Law 2d ed. (Butterworths)
  • Regional Reporter, Arctic, Yearbook of International Environmental Law (Oxford)

Past service

  • Co-chair IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) Specialist Group on Oceans, Coasts and Coral Reefs (2004-2018)