Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Law (SJD)



First Advisor

Sompong Sucharitkul

Second Advisor

Christian Okeke

Third Advisor

Michelle Leighton


The migratory nature of sea turtles makes their protection difficult and that causes the failure of International environmental law to protect them. Despite years of concern for sea turtles and the threats to them no rule of national law and no single international environmental agreement are capable of effectively protecting sea turtles. Sea turtles have been protected through domestic environmental laws such as the US Endangered Species Act. Section 609 requires countries exporting shrimp to the US to equip their trawlers with Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs). This is an analysis of the need for global legal protection of sea turtles inspired from the US TED requirement. Despite its importance as an effective tool to protect sea turtles, the legitimacy of US Section 609 extraterritoriality was challenged by few shrimp exporting countries who submitted their claim to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1998. Although the last WTO decision in 2001 marked international trade law for its efforts to consider elements of environmental law in its verdict, the main focus of this study is to use the TED requirement as model on the global level as it is an efficient tool to protect sea turtles and assure sustainable fisheries management. This requires one international organization to assure the implementation of the TED requirement worldwide through either voluntary or mandatory ecolabelling. TED requirement models can be integrated to form an effective legal framework on the international level and a mechanism that is acceptable to every country. The seafood certification program can be formalized through either internationally recognized organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), or the FishCode Program, both implementing the FAD Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The TED requirement and the FAD Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries are two mechanisms that are compatible and appropriate to protect sea turtles both on the domestic level and on the international level. The goal is to internationalize the TED requirement and its integration with one of the FAD mechanisms. Another part of this study evaluates the domestic effectiveness of international legal frameworks to protect sea turtles, using the example of Madagascar. The purpose of the study is to investigate the social impact as well as the integration of conservation measures to littoral communities traditional use of sea turtles as subsistence. It is important to study the national/local implementation of the 1992 Biodiversity Convention. The reason is because this is not only about protecting sea turtles from destructive fisheries practices, but also promoting the sus1ainable use and access of local resources users to these resources as the 1992 Biodiversity convention attributes such use rights to local communities if the practice is proven not to harm the ecosystem.

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