SCELG at Rule of Law for Oceans Conference, Oslo

PhD Researcher Mitchell Lennan presented at the Rule of Law for Oceans conference in Oslo

On 5 November 2019, SCELG PhD researcher Mitchell Lennan at the Rule of Law for Oceans Conference, hosted by the Scandinavian Institute for Maritime Law at the University of Oslo.

Mitchell’s presentation, titled “‘Marine Biodiversity Redistribution under Climate Change: Rethinking the Law to Address the ‘Governance Gap’” aligned well with the conference theme focusing on the question “Is law fit for the purpose of protecting oceans against increasing pressures and demands?” Mitchell’s presentation examined on the role of international law in facilitating an adaptive response in international fisheries management to marine species movement due to climate change.  

Mitchell first explained the science behind this phenomenon and the jurisdictional and managerial problems this can cause. He went on to argue that the international legal framework as it currently stands indicates that States have an obligation to adapt fisheries management practices to climate change. He then outlined actions undertaken by some regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) as examples of adaptive practice.

Mitchell’s presentation was part of his on-going PhD research, exploring to what extent can the current international legal framework create enabling conditions for meaningful adaptive management of activities affected by marine biodiversity shifts under climate change.

On participation at the conference as a SCELG PhD, Mitchell said: “It was great to have the opportunity to present at such a high-level international conference in Oslo at a fairly early stage in my PhD. The feedback and interest in my work on this important topic was really encouraging. I certainly benefitted from the opportunity to practice my presentation prior to the conference at the monthly SCELG discussion group. Here, colleagues and our LLM students had the chance to discuss the content of my work and offer feedback on presentation style. This was invaluable practice for the conference.”

PhD Research at SCELG

Mitchell’s PhD experience is not unique. PhD candidates join a vibrant community of researchers working on the many research areas which SCELG is involved in, including oceans governance. Collaborative opportunities include contributions to consultancies for public and private organisations such as UNFAO and Cefas. PhDs also have an opportunity to present their ongoing work at the annual Postgraduate Colloquium on Environmental Law and Governance.

To find out more about our PhD programme, visit:

To find out more about or work on oceans, visit: