David VanderZwaag

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


Related information

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
  • Transboundary 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 environmental law and policy; 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; marine protected areas; climate change and oceans; 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)